Editor's Blog

Wendy Erickson

In Memorium: Dr. Richard Zakia

April 20, 2012

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Dr. Richard Zakia, a true photographic icon, who passed away on March 12, 2012.

Richard was a 1956 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Some of his classmates at the time were Carl Chiarenza, Peter Bunnell, Bruce Davidson, Ken Josephson, Pete Turner and Jerry Uelsmann—at that time Minor White was a member of the faculty and Beaumont Newhall was an Adjunct. After graduation he was employed as a photographic Engineer in the Color Technology Division of Eastman Kodak. During the Sputnik era he decided teaching was his vocation and accepted a position with RIT where he served for 44 years. He was chairman of the Professional Photo Department and the Department of Imaging and Photographic Technology. He wrote numerous articles and books published by Focal Press, including Perception and Imaging, Photographic Composition, Basic Photographic Materials and Processes (with Ira Current and John Compton) and many more.

Photograph by John Retallack. His early contributions were in the areas of tone reproduction and sensitometry, and this later developed into an interest in the Zone System and tone control in pictorial photography. His interests also shifted to photographic interpretation and semiotics.

“Professor Richard Zakia was a Focal Press author for more than 30 years. He was both a technical master and a generous colleague. We are proud to publish his final book, the new edition of Perception & Imaging, later this year,” said Valerie Geary, editor of Perception & Imaging.

Richard Zakia’s contributions to the world of photography were enormous—he will be missed and always remembered.