Paula Lerner, photographer and photography advocate, died on Tuesday from breast cancer at the age of 52. Steve Skoll gathered these comments from those who knew her.
Steve: A collection of thoughts from friends and colleagues on the passing of Paula Lerner.
Manuello Paganelli writes: Folks I just learned the awful news that our friend, dear colleague, talented and award winning still/video photographer and former Editorial Photographer (EP), President passed away.
You all know that she was a strong advocate for photographer’s rights and was always there willing to show her wisdom and vision with the rest. She was also batting for photographers making sure magazines would pay decent day and space rates and less rights grabbing.
Today my heart just dropped out. RIP wonderful Paula…my heart goes to your husband and children.
Brian Smith, President of EP writes: I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Paula Lerner’s death. As the founding Vice President of Editorial Photographers, Paula was instrumental to setting EP’s course. She was directly involved in negotiating the Business Week and Forbes contracts that raised the bar for fair deals for editorial photographers. Paula remained committed to educating and inspiring others and it is extremely sad to lose her just as she was producing the finest work of her career.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Ed Greenberg writes: It is with unspeakable sadness that we inform you of the untimely death of a great lady, Paula Lerner. Paula possessed the all too rare qualities of both bravery and courage well before the insidious cancer ever invaded her body.
While most of us are content with the safety of our daily lives, Paula was busy risking her life to bring home the intimate stories of the brave women in war torn Afghanistan. Dodging bombs and bullets on five journeys, Paula created the finest collection of photography ever created in or about Afghanistan. Paula won a richly deserved Emmy Award for her work as a photojournalist on “Behind the Veil” an in depth multi media feature which also captured an EPPY Award for Best Web Feature.
Those of us who create prose rather than images, know all to well that there is simply no “appropriate” space limitations when extolling the virtues of Paula whether referencing her work or her character. The fact that both her images and life story will become part of the curriculum at Harvard is testament to an extraordinary life that precious few of us will ever even approach in magnitude. Her images will continue to speak to us and that makes her great photographer. Her character, charity, kindness, curiosity, tenaciousness and bravery made her a great person. Her family, friends, colleagues and clients know that her kind won’t pass this way again.
Michael Grecco writes: Paula was fearless in the pursuit of the things she believed in, whether it was to fight for photographer’s rights, as the first Vice President of Editorial Photographers, or when traveling to the war zone to use her lens and multimedia skills to expose the plight of the women of Afghanistan. I was thrilled when she won an Emmy for her hard work. She was a dear friend and will be missed.
Andrew Buchanan writes: In working with Paula professionally for more than ten years, I knew I was working with someone with passion. Not coming from a photojournalism background myself, I was inspired by someone who found a cause she believed in, then used both her artistic and journalistic abilities to get the story and make a difference.
But in pursuing her passion, Paula never forgot her purpose — to inspire, to share, to lead by example. She was generous with her time, her knowledge, and her inspiration. Knowing her made me a better photographer, but more importantly she made me a better person.
Thank you for that Paula, you’ve left your mark on this world in ways you maybe never even knew. My best thoughts to your family at this very difficult time.
There are threads on APAGroups and Editorial Photographers paying tribute to Paula Lerner.