John Margolies (1940-2016)

John, whom the New York Times, in a beautiful obituary by Margalit Fox, called “the country’s foremost photographer of vernacular architecture," was the longtime partner of my friend and colleague Jane Tai.


Photograph by John Margolies

I had numerous occasions to sit in Jane’s garden in Manhattan and discuss the day with John, who was devoted to his dogs and cared (a lot) that he had freshly ironed handkerchiefs at the ready. Anyone who knew John appreciated the fact that he lived for his art, and that his art came first. It’s not an easy approach to life, but in John’s case it yielded a trove of pictures and ephemera that in future years might favorably be compared to, say, the best of Atget. A toast, then, to those who remember and celebrate and preserve the lost worlds.

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