Terry Toedtemeier died yesterday while giving a reading from Wild Beauty in Hood River Oregon. Terry was my thesis adviser and professor in college as I struggled to figure just what in the hell I was supposed to be doing to prove my worth as a photographer and earn my degree, but he was more than that. He was my mentor and he was my friend.
Terry taught me damned near everything I know about photography, a couple of things about life along the way. Through Terry I became exposed to many great photographers and photographs I never would have. I met people who influenced the way I see, and taught me how to sculpt my vision into a beautiful silver expression of what I saw. On top of all that, what I will remember most about him was unique way of living. Terry was amazingly gifted, and equally as giving, and a little on the goofy side too – but that's what made him Terry.
I first met him while at PNCA my second Sophomore year, or maybe it was my interim-junior year… dunno, but it didn't take me long to realize that this fellow teaching my Photo History class was someone I could learn from. So I sponged, or monopolized as some would say, but we became fast friends. At his urging I went to Catherine Creek, and I was struck dumb with awe – to this day that is one of my favorite places. Many trips to the Gorge, and to the hardware store (to dig and pour a foundation by hand) later, Terry took on trip to the Coast; Cape Mears. This place is amazing, and just a bit dangerous if you stay too long (which we invariably did). I remember it because what I saw was someone with the same vigor and passion as this dumb kid who was just out of school. Even as we were wading through stomach high sea water holding our gear above our heads, we were lauging about how freakin cold the damned Pacific is, and how we better get our asses out of the water lest we end up in Hawaii.
The world is a poorer place without you Terry…. you will be missed.
** edit **
Terry's obituary was posted last night on the Oregonian site.