Sad news just in from Camera Press:
Above: Don in 2007 when Camera Press celebrated their 60th year …he had been with the agency for 60 years at that point. © James Veysey/Camera Press
DONALD CHAPMAN 1925 – 2016
Camera Press is sad to announce the death of Donald Chapman, aged 91. Born 27th December 1925, died 17th April 2016 – A true gentleman and a Camera Press legend, much loved by all.
Don, or Mr Don as he was affectionately known, joined Camera Press shortly after it was founded in 1947 and maintained his close links to the agency right up to his death on April 17th.
Don served as an apprentice with the RAF during World War II and was posted to India for two years working on Mosquitos and other vital aircraft. He was fascinated by planes throughout his life, but found another career path in photography and Camera Press. Don was in his early twenties when he joined the Camera Press, working alongside his uncle, the Agency’s founder Tom Blau. It was the early days of Camera Press but it had already attracted some of the big names of the time, Yousuf Karsh and Cecil Beaton among them and had distributed the official wedding images of the young Princess Elizabeth. Over the years Don became an integral part of Camera Press’ history, as indelibly linked to its success as the photographers it represented. In recognition of this enormous contribution he was made Managing Director in the 1980s.
He retired shortly after, but would still come to work in the archive at least once a week until his recent illness.
No one knew more about Camera Press’s history and its photographers than Don, and no Camera Press event or exhibition launch was complete without him. He was invaluable in dealing with historical queries and his immediate recollection of dates, events and even conversations half a century previously remained undiminished to the very end.
Sadly in the last couple of years Don’s health faltered and he became largely housebound, but Don never lost his sense of humour nor his interest in Camera Press and its photographers and we remained in constant contact.