In Memoriam: Sandy Colton 1925 – 2008


In a time when photography has become ubiquitous, and where cellphone cameras outnumber “regular” cameras by orders of magnitude, it’s often hard to remember what photography used to be. We take photography for granted nowadays — we’re surrounded by  photography every day, and it’s easy to glance at a war photo without thinking anything of it.

But to get to this point, there were many others who blazed the trails ahead of us.

Sandy Colton was a former war photographer for the Stars and Stripes during the Korean War, and later its chief photographer for the Pacific edition. Like his good friend, Eddie Adams, Sandy helped legions of young photographers and photo editors define the discipline of photojournalism. And perhaps more significantly to him, he is the father of Jay and Jimmy Colton — two kick ass photo editors (Time and Sports Illustrated respectively).

Every year that I’ve attended the Eddie Adams Workshop, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Sandy, who without fail, listened to the presentations from the seats by the barn door. He interacted with the old timers and the neophytes alike. And every year, his son, Jimmy, would pay tribute to his father and best friend.

This year, Sandy left the hospital to attend the workshop. His support of Eddie’s vision and the fellowship at the event were that important to him. It’s a level of dedication that seems rare nowadays. The industry has lost a giant.

Rest in Peace, Sandy.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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