Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Phil Hunt: Family's Obituary

The family (via Rich Morris) has sent along the following official obituary for Phil Hunt, classmate of ours from the Douglas MacArthur High School Class of 1965. This should be read in conjunction with the previous tribute (here), which announced his death on August 4, 2012.

Phillip L. Hunt, age 65, has passed away at the home of his sister, in Caledonia, Michigan.  A graduate of McArthur High School and Southern Illinois University he was a United States Army veteran who served in the Viet Nam War.
Phil, owner of plh photography, had spent most of his career in San Francisco, California, before moving with his family to Idaho. He is survived by two sons, Eduard F. Hunt and William C. Hunt, and by his sister, Virginia (Ginger) Rollins. His parents, Francis L. Hunt and Opal Rhodes Hunt preceded him in death.
Phil Hunt loved music and always knew why the lyric was so important to make the melody speak to you. As a master photographer, he used that talent to compose his stunning visual songs with an adroit eye that captured images of beauty and character. His photographs literally painted a picture for the viewer with his extraordinary uses of lighting and exposure techniques.  His wonderful sense of humor allowed him to coach models into expressions that became the lyric of the image.
A skilled model and magazine photographer, he was nationally known for his commercial work with multiple US retail companies.   In the last few years, Phil concentrated on preserving photos, while living in Caledonia, Michigan.
He will forever be remembered for his amazing body of work and his dry sense of humor. In a recent interview Phil said, "This could be the time when your life is just beginning. Make the most of it."
There’s a hole in the world tonight.  Decatur, his family and friends,  have  lost a wonderful artist and dear man.  A private memorial service will be held at a later date in Idaho.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Phil Hunt Dies

Phil Hunt in 1965

Phil Hunt, 65, has passed away.  His full obituary will be added later, when it becomes available, but for now, I wanted to pass on the news that he had died, which was shared with me by Millie Smith.

Phillip Lloyd Hunt's MacArthur Class of 1965 Senior entry told of his involvement in Baseball 1, 2; Track 3, 4; Band 1, 2; Big Mac Day 2, and Float Committee 4.

But Phil's life seems to have had nothing to do with anything mentioned in his high school yearbook.

As many of you know, Phil was a famous and respected model, magazine, and celebrity photographer, having done most of his well-known work for Macy's and independently, when he was in San Francisco. In the last few years, he concentrated on preserving photos, while living in Caledonia, Michigan. Early reports of his death tell of his sister, whom he lived with, finding him.
Phil once posted this photo above in tribute to a friend of his who had died. Phil's Vietnam and military experiences were not central to his life, but he certainly seems to have appreciated how his time there resulted in the path he would choose.

Once upon a time, Phil was interviewed by a cousin named Lisa for her blog. She asked,
"When and how did you first discover your interest in photography, and what made you decide to make a career out of it?"

Here is Phil's answer: 

I think it started when I was around 8 or 9 years old. My mother used to bring home Life and Look magazine. I was always so amazed by the incredible pictures of all the beautiful people inside. I loved the back cover most of all though…The Breck Girl stole my heart in 1955.
Twelve years later, I got drafted and spent a year in Hanau, Germany before I went to Vietnam. Marvin, a friend of mine, used to walk around town and take pictures of things he found interesting just for fun. I asked him one day why he did it. “Well”, he said, “I do it because I like it and someday, I might take a picture that will make me rich”. “How so?” I asked. “The Hindenburg”, he said. “The guy that took the picture of the Hindenburg exploding was paid $10,000 for that one picture!” I bought my first camera on payday later that month and have been taking pictures ever since.

Phil Hunt

One way to mediate on Phil's death, I felt, might be to look at his photographs. Many of them, which he shared on his Facebook page and at his website, look very familiar, seen via ads and remembered forever. 

For your consideration, and in tribute to Phil, this is a small selection of Phil Hunt's photographs:

Emporium Capwell Cover 1985

Rene Russo: Outtake From a Macys Jewelry Catalogue 1973

Christy Turlington: San Francisco Chronicle – Full page ad 1985

Macys Christmas Catalogue Cover 1973
William Rhodes: Date Unknown
Restored 2007

"It’s easy to lose track of your dreams. 
Try to find them again and if they are 
still important to you now is the time 
to start living them."
~ Phil Hunt

"This could be the time when your life
 is just beginning. Make the most of it." 
~ Phil Hunt