Jack Fields

Retired freelance magazine photographer Jack Fields, a mentor and friend to many Bay Area photojournalists and writers, died of heart failure on December 13 at his Placerville home. He was 87. No services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made to the Nature Conservancy. Condolences may be sent to Dorothy Fields, 6021 Golden Center Dr., Placerville, CA 95667-6222. Dorothy Fields' phone number is (530) 622-1772.
Retired freelance magazine photographer Jack Fields, a mentor and friend to many Bay Area photojournalists and writers, died of heart failure on December 13 at his Placerville home. He was 87. No services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made to the Nature Conservancy. Condolences may be sent to Dorothy Fields, 6021 Golden Center Dr., Placerville, CA 95667-6222. Dorothy Fields' phone number is (530) 622-1772.

Fields served for three years as "Visiting Professor" at SJSU in the late 1970's. While at SJSU he pioneered what he called a "no-nonsense" approach to photography, a subject that was often taught as "pure art" at many universities.

Fields was founding chairman of the Bay Area chapter of the American Society of Magazine Photographers in an era when Wayne Miller, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Imogen Cunningham were members of the organization.

As a young boy in Kansas, Fields dreamed of "far-away places with strange sounding names". After a formal education and a wartime stint in the South Pacific, Fields embarked upon a 50-year career, traveling on assignment for Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Look, and Life.

Before World War II, Fields earned a Bachelor's degree in Science from Kansas State College. He was planning to teach but was sent to New Guinea with the armed forces where he began taking pictures. He was assigned as a photographer for the Air Force’s Yank Magazine when he contracted tuberculosis and was returned to the U.S. to recuperate. While at Cragmor Sanitorium in Colorado Springs, Fields met Dorothy Gindling, also a patient and fellow TB sufferer, whom he married in 1948.

After five years of recuperation, the Fields moved to Los Angeles where Jack attended the Art Center College of Design while Dorothy enrolled in writing classes at the Maren Elwood School. As an art student, he sold his first photos to Look Magazine. After completing their studies, the Fields traveled to Europe, working on assignment for various publications.

The Fields became known for their ability to find interesting, yet untold stories, especially in the South Pacific. In 1971 they approached a Japanese publisher with an Idea for an all-encompassing book on the region which became their 1973 book "South Pacific".

Fields was the first photojournalist to report on Micronesia after it became a U.S. Trust at the end of WWII. His photograph of a laser pioneer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center was used as a reference image for a commemorative stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in August, 1999. Fields’ photographs are represented by the Corbis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Nature Conservancy. Condolences may be sent to Dorothy Fields, 6021 Golden Center Dr., Placerville, CA 95667-6222. Dorothy Fields' phone number is (530) 622-1772.

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