I’m coming off a busy few weeks, where I haven't had much time to sit down and write — assignments in Northern Wyoming (Field & Stream), on Loveland Pass (Mens' Journal), and in San Francisco (Hewlett-Packard) have kept me pretty busy. Yesterday I got a call from my friend, photographer Eric Kiel who told me that our former mentor, David Stoecklein, had died that morning after a long battle with lung cancer.
I was Dave’s full-time photo assistant from 1997-1998 while living in Ketchum, Idaho. He had a beautiful 600 acre ranch north of town where we’d sometimes shoot large ad campaigns for companies around the world. New York art directors loved coming to the ranch, with its rustic guest cabins, 20+ horses, and surrounding snowcapped peaks.
When we weren’t shooting commercial work, we were on the road documenting the disappearing culture of real cowboys on real ranches throughout the American west. Typical shoot days would start well before sunrise, go past sunset, and burn through 200+ rolls of Ektachrome E100VS. I remember being out at dawn in Montana when it was 30 below, barely able to load the camera because my hands were frozen.
Dave’s passion for light was truly contagious, and I learned from Dave not just how light works, but how to appreciate it. How to chase it, and go crazy for it. He created a small army of people that over decades went on to pursue careers in and around photography.
Thanks Dave. You helped me get here. You will be missed.