Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Passing of Alan Kaplan

It is with deep sadness that my sister and I relate the passing of our father Alan Kaplan.
He died this afternoon (Tuesday, December 29) due to unexpected complications of his recovery.

A private funeral will be held for him in Massachusetts on Thursday, December 31.
A public memorial service will be held for him in North Miami, Fla in January (more information to follow).

his son, Jonathan


Anonymous Parks Masterson said...

Jonathan, I'm so sorry. I met your Dad while I was working at Browne's camera back in 1970. The world will be a much less interesting place.
Parks Masterson

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Rob Klurfield said...

Jonathan & Elena,

So sorry for your loss. Your dad is irreplaceable, for the two of you, of course, but also for untold numbers of friends he made along the way. What a life he lived. I hope while you are healing your grief that you also celebrate a life that was as well-lived as anyone's. We all meet our end at some point, but few people ever pack as much into it and give out as much of themselves as your dad.

My thoughts are with you during this time of sadness. I hope it helps to think of the joy that Al found in the world and shared freely with everyone he encountered. He certainly touched me and I only knew him from his presence on the web, having never been privileged to meet him in person.

A remarkable man with a wonderful legacy left in his work, his family and his friends.

Rob Klurfield,
a friend from

12:02 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. We've been communicating for a while now. He said my red hair drove him crazy. Quite a character. He will be missed.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Warren T. said...

Dear Jonathan, I'm very sorry to hear of your father's passing. I lost my mom just last month and my dad 4 years ago. I only knew your dad from his presence and postings on, and if you checked there now, there is an outpouring of responses to you dad's death. I hope you keep this blog online for a while so that we can read you dad's posts over the last few years. May he rest in peace.



12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I also am very sad today. As you know, your dad and I were very close friends, even though we lived about 3000 miles apart. It was a joy to help your dad work on his blog and watch him evolve in his photography. I will miss his happy and humorous calls and messages. Blessings to you and your family at this time. Todd Frederick

12:19 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I am sorry for your loss.
I am someone who only knew your father through this blog, and his postings on and later at rangefinderforum, and came to appreciate his sense of humour, joy of life, and willingness to share what he knew. He will be missed.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Omababe said...


My sincere condolences to you and your family. Al was one of the Good Guys! He will be sincerely missed. :(

Annie R. (DMR on the boards)

12:51 PM  
Blogger Subhash said...

I am very sorry to hear of your father's untimely passing. He and I were introduced on the Internet by a mutual friend, and although I live about 200 miles north of him, we never met in person. Our plans to visit someday never materialised, although we sometimes emailed each other.
I am sorry to see him go, and regret never having met him.
My deepest condolences to all family and friends.


12:54 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

Jonathan and Elena -

I am very sorry for your loss. Parks got it right, the world will be a much less interesting place.

My condolences to you and the rest of your family.

Liam Strain

12:58 PM  
Blogger Mukul said...

Jonathan, I don't know if your dad told you that he and I were in daily contact for some while. If you wish to get in touch, my e-mail address is

Mukul Dube

1:10 PM  
Blogger Golden Dawg said...

Jonathan ... Al was a mentor to many of us. He had what we refer to as great "tude". Leader of the pack.

In this time of grief, I hope to share my sincerest condolences to you and your family. We all share his loss. Yet somehow I think Al will be watching out for us from the great Starbucks in the sky. Possibly with monkette, his trusty Bessa ... but mostly his sharp eye for all the hotties. He will be fondly remembered.

Best regards and warmest memories.

1:11 PM  
Blogger wj said...

I'm sorry to hear of your father passing. My condolences to you and your family.

I briefly got to know Al through RFF and his blog. We corresponded once about his blog and I felt privileged that he would respond to me. He will be greatly missed on RFF and I'm sure any place he touched with his presence.


1:16 PM  
Blogger rob said...

My condolences to you and your family, Jonathan.
Al is loved and will be missed by many of us.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Mikal said...


Your father shot my first and second weddings, and spent many hours teaching me about Leicas and photography. Your father was a great man and a great friend, a man who had the patience of a saint.

He always spoke glowingly of you, and loved you fiercely.

My condolences. May his n'shema have an aliya before HaShem.


1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jonathan, this is a very sad news. I knew your father from the Rangefinder forum and since a few months I was used to follow this blog. I did not know he was in hospital because I lost my connection in internet for a couple of weeks. I'll miss him and it is difficult to say in a foreign language how I feel sad. My wife and me we├Čll pray for him.
robert blu (from italy)

1:50 PM  
Blogger mh said...


I only knew your father through the web, but he took the time to have a carefull look at some pictures and give some advices and tips.
I was very sad to read that he passed away. My thoughts go to you and your familly in your great loss.
Yhyeh zihro baruch


1:51 PM  
Blogger Raid said...

Jonathan and Elena,
I am very sorry for your loss. Your Dad and I shared news on our private lives with each other, and I have learned about you from Al. He was very proud of each of you two.

I wish him peace.

Raid Amin

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Michael Axel said...

Jonathan, I am so sorry to hear of Al's passing. I knew him through some photography forums where we shared ideas and information, but he was always a kind gentleman. My sincerest condolences to you and your family. Axel

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Brian Shaw said...

Words cannot express my sorrow. Al was a good friend to many of us who may have only known him through internet chatter. I will miss him.


2:18 PM  
Blogger Johan N. Kuiper said...

I am sad to learn Al Kaplan has passed away. His observations on RFF on cameras (and whats more, their owners!) made me laugh on numerous occasions. Never had the pleasure to meet him in person.

Sorry for your loss, rest in peace Al!

Johan, The Netherlands.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Keith Goldstein said...

So sad. I am so sorry for your loss. He will be greatly missed.

2:53 PM  
Blogger A said...

Please accept my deepest condolenses. Your father will be sorely missed.

3:07 PM  
Blogger pklein said...

Jonathan & family: I am so sorry to hear of Al's passing. On the Rangefinder Forum, Al was well known as a gentleman with a wealth of photographic experience who was always willing to help others. And as a local character with a unique perspective and sense of humor. He was the kind of guy who brought a smile to each of us whenever we thought of him. We will miss him, and our thoughts are with you.


3:22 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Jonathan and Elena,

I am so saddened to hear this news. I knew your father years ago when I lived in North Miami and have been following his blog for quite some time.

He was a wonderful man who lived a life on his own terms and that is the best life for all of us.

In your grief I hope you can take the time to celebrate his life well lived.

My condolences to all his family and friends.


4:02 PM  
Anonymous James Jones said...

Jonathan, I am deeply sorry to hear the news. I used to work at Browne's Photo Center at 82nd and Biscayne and remember Al fondly. He and his camera made the world a brighter place.

Best wishes to you and yours,

James Jones,
Kansas City

4:48 PM  
Blogger A said...

My deepest condolences. Your father will be sorely missed.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Damien said...

My deepest condolences to all Al's family and friends.

Known only to me by his web presence and contributions at, I was very sorry to hear this news, and can only say Al will be missed very much.

The folks over at rangefinderforum have contributed to a thread ( to share their thoughts and memories of Al, upon hearing of his passing.

Best wishes and kindest regards,


5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My condolances to the family.

Although Inever knew him personally, I felt i did hecause of his long and continuing contributions to photo knowledge.

Whenever I could not find and answer, preacher pop was the go to address. He always knew.

May God bless his soul.

Ronald Moravec

5:18 PM  
Blogger Nando said...


I'm very to hear about your father's passing. Al has always given my straight and honest advice about photography. He will be missed by all. He was a wonderful person.

My condolences to you, your family and friends.

Fernando Gomes Semedo

5:25 PM  
Blogger C. Kurt Holter said...

I have a high level of admiration for those who enjoy photography simply for the joy of shooting, especially as opposed to those who are into it for peripheral reasons.

I didn't know Al at all but always found his blog fascinating and really appreciated his comments and pictures as a participant.

Also, I really love genuine "characters" and Al seemed to fit that definition well.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Jonathan & Elena -

My condolences.

I'm one of hundreds of photographers -- and that estimate is probably on the conservative side -- who benefited from your Dad's advice and encouragement as I began to take pictures.

I hope the comments you see on this site, and on and as well, provide a sense of our appreciation. And I hope the coming year provides many joys ... and no more sorrows.

regards -
Michael Sandberg

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon and Elena,
Sorry about your dad, he was a fun guy.

John Carter (RFF)

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Pat (Ho-Chan) Motro said...

Jonathan & Elena,
I was saddened to hear about Al's sudden death. My deepest condolences. I met Al in 1973 when I was a student at Barry College and I will treasure our friendship forever. He was always there for me. I could always count on him. Al was like a big brother to me and he considered me his little sister. When I telephoned him, he would answer, "Hi there, little sister." I could still hear his voice. I will miss him.
Pat (Ho-Chan) Motro

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan & Elena:

Your father was a great inspiration, a lively correspondent, and a wonderful photographer. He'll be greatly missed.

J. Lennon

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Mike Howard said...

Very sad news indeed. I always loved reading Al's posts on My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Al I knew from camera forums over the years was a raconteur of the first order. To borrow a line from Griel Marcus, he was what was best about the old, weird America. I never knew him personally, but what he gave of himself was enough to feel like I did. Thanks Al.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous John Shriver said...

Al obviously was a person who chose to enjoy life, and was a generous soul to many others. Condolences to Elena, Jonathan, and of course to his ex-wives Claudia and Stephanie as well. Condolences as well to the old ladies in the neighborhood who he helped out so much with shopping trips, which I'm sure was helping them continue to live at home.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

There will never be another Al Kaplan. I was privileged to know him a little by correspondence; he was an inspiration and a delight.

Sincerest condolences on your loss; I hope you celebrate Al's life as he would have wanted it celebrated. I'll miss him.

Ave atque vale, Al.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Matthew Newhook said...

I'm very sorry to hear of Al's passing. I've only "met" him online, but he was always gracious with advice and definitely was an inspiration to me.

Matthew Newhook

8:24 AM  
Blogger Instantclassic said...

Dear Jonathan & Elena.
I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of your father.

I was looking at his pictures earlier this morning and read his proud statement about his children at
I was sad to hear about your great loss and feel that he will be deeply missed by the community of friends globally. He never knew me and I only knew him by various posts at RFF and but I still feel a great loss.

With my deepest sympathy
Hans I. Jonsson, Sweden

8:34 AM  
Blogger RAGC said...

My condolences to the Family and friends. I "knew" Al through Filmlives. His knowledge and opinions taught me much about photography. I will meii him.

Rafael Garcia

12:08 PM  
Blogger Dennis Wong said...

Like many photgraphers and friends, I'll miss you Al.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Dennis Wong said...

Like many friends and photographers around the world, I miss you Al.

1:06 PM  
Blogger taffer said...

Even by exchanging just a couple emails with him you inmediately knew that Al was such a character, and somebody who will be missed. My deepest condolences.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...


To you, your sister, to Debra and your entire family go my speechless condolences. Your loss is a burden only Hashem can adequately share with you, but if there is any way I can be of help, you now you can call on me.

May Hashem comfort those who mourn in Zion.


1:52 PM  
Blogger Volker said...

I'm sorry to hear this, I learned a lot from Al back then on PN and later on RFF. Tonight I'll roll a cigarette and have a cup of coffee on him and take a couple rolls HP5 in memory of one of my web tutors.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Robert Fleischman said...

Al and our beloved cat of almost 13 years, Miss, Kitty, passed on the same day: the afternoon of December 29, 2009. My wife and I are very sad, but somehow it makes it just a little better that they can be together. Miss Kitty was a comfort to us. Now she can be with Al. I hope she will sit in his lap and sleep by him.

Goodby, we loved you both.

Robert Fleischman

(Rob-F from the Rangefinder Forum)

3:11 PM  
Blogger Sandeha said...

Al was an inspiration, as well as a mine of good stories. He won't be forgotten.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

So sorry to hear. Al was very helpful to me whenever I asked for his advice. HE will be sorely missed

8:09 PM  
Blogger 35mmdelux said...


You made the world a better place. You will be missed. Vaya con Dios mi amigo.

My condolences to the family.

Paul Angulo
Los Angeles

9:52 PM  
Blogger 35mmdelux said...

God's speed Al.

Your friend,

Paul Angulo
Los Angeles

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss.

Al was a real character, a gentleman and a fatherly figure to many of us in the internet photography community.

I have a couple of his tee-shirts and continue to wear them with a smirk on my face. Many of my friends ask "Who is that guy ?"

The world is a lesser place knowing that he's not shooting off frames on his Leicas or goofing around with that super wide angle lens !

Ron B (Canada)

10:31 AM  
Blogger WGibson said...

so very sorry for your loss, I only knew Al thru but I really liked and admired him. I have one of his infamous t-shirts which I wear during the summer... I willl keep wearing it and I will remember him as a fine photographer and a gentle man.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Dan Comeau said...

Words can not express how we feel you you. We were going to meet your Dad at Greynold Park this past Sunday. He featured my wife in his May 8th 2006 blog and wanted to meet up with us for another photo shoot.A 40 year reunion.He had more pics he wanted to give to her.We have enjoyed his blogs and humor for years. Please let us know when and where the memorial is. We will be there.

Dan& Nancy Comeau

7:40 AM  
Blogger Alan Soon said...

I'm very sad to hear of this. Al Kaplan was largely responsible for my love and passion in rangefinders. Here's wishing you plenty of Tri-X where ever you are, Al.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A moment of silence for Al, and sincere condolences for his family and friends. He will be missed by many people in many places.
-- 02Pete

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Bill A. said...

The photographic community was better for your presence, and now emptier for your absence. I would have liked to have bought you and Monkey a coffee at Starbucks as a thank you. God's Speed, Al.

Bill (RFF -- "Issy")

12:59 PM  
Blogger Traut said...


Nothing has saddened me as the news of Dad's passing. North Miami will not be the same.

Know how proud of you and your sister Al was.

I hope we have an opportunity to meet at his memorial. I will toast his life now.

His blog made me laugh and introspect regularly. We were kindred spirits.

All my warm personal wishes to you and your family.

Harvey Trautenberg
Aventura, Florida

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan and Elena,
I sent this beautiful Kaddish earlier for Al, but it was not allowed as a comment. Who is the administrator. I will like to make it available to all who come here. I think Al would appreciate that, and that his friends would share it. It is sung beautifully by Ofra Haza, a beautiful woman, something else I think Al would have noticed!

So everyone may hear the this beautiful Kaddish, mourner's prayer.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous marcia said...

Jonathan and Elena:

I am deeply saddened by your wonderful father's passing. He will be truly missed by me. There seems to be a great void in my life just knowing that I will be unable to have our several hours of phone conversations. We were planning to meet a few weeks ago, by my trip to Miami was unfortunatly cancelled and now I will never be able to meet him. I so looked forward to our long talks and wanted to meet him. Alas, I will always have the memoris of our chats. He loved you both and his granddaqughtr, too. He is someone who comes into your life and enrichs it forever. Wish I could have met him and his monkeys, too. You both should be so proud to have known him as "dad".I send my best to you and all in your family and all of Al's family of good friends. He was able to captivate all who knew him. We "met" on line over Tony Mafia's paintings, as I have one, too. Al had several, I know. Such a wonderful mqn and so very interesting. I came to know and love Starbucks because of his love of the place. The City of North Miami will be a lot less interesting now that he's gone. God love him and all of you.

12:31 AM  
Blogger phule said...

Al was such a character and will be missed. I only echo what's already been said. My condolences to his family and friends.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Harve said...

I have read at least a thousand of Al Kaplans posts both on RFF and PNET for years, I have enjoyed his photos both of his friends and his wonderful work as shown to us from his long Photographic Career.

When I heard of his passing I started crying, which for a really big and tough old Sarge must have looked silly (if someone was here to see me crying at my computer).
That says it all I cared for your dad as a fellow human being that much. He had many fine characteristics, I appreciated his fellowship and his honesty. He was a real person and a mensh.

I will go to Shul this Shabbos and recite a Kaddish for Al, to hasten his souls trip to heaven.

Praise to Al there was none who knew Leicas and film better and none that was more helpful to others.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Mani Sitaraman said...

Dear Al,

We miss you. Rest in peace.

My condolences to the children and family of a kind and wonderful man I knew only through

11:41 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jonathan and Elena,
I am so sorry to have read of Al's death. I hope that you find solace in our heartfelt wishes that he rest in peace. He was an inspiration and mentor to me.
Kris Kerkela

8:40 PM  
Blogger Mukul Dube said...

24 December 2011. Two years have gone by but I still miss the old chap. We e-chatted at all kinds of odd hours in both our countries, each drinking his own coffee. I hope the university programme is going well.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that. He used to really liven up with his witty comments and "life experience".

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Andy Anderson said...

My condolences. For some reason, I discovered Al's blog recently. I had not seen him in forty years, but never forgot him. I knew him in the early seventies when I was at Barry College.

He was a part of what made that time, art, photography and Miami such a swirl of creative work...

Late nights/ early mornings at Lum's, waiting for prints to wash... arguments about Portriga Rapid paper vs. well, there is no comparison to Portriga Rapid... And talk about lenses and life.

Looking back I see now that that it was a phenomenal time. My view of the incredible dedication of the artists and diversity of the work back then isn't just the warm glow of nostalgia. It was real, and it will probably never happen again.

Al was a one of the people who made it so. He was Portriga Rapid in a world of megapixels.

10:46 AM  

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