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The Commons
Photo 1

Roger Katz

"It's been more than 20 years since I last played that pipe organ. And even then it was in need of tender care, but ohhhh, how it filled the space within those hallowed walls. I'm sure Bob Johnson still has plans to restore it someday, but days, as we know, are like sands through the great hourglass."

Voices / Editorial

A community photographer, mentor, and friend

Photo 2

Originally published in The Commons issue #197 (Wednesday, April 3, 2013).

“Home from the dance. I park my old truck in the dooryard in a patch of dim light filtered from the kitchen window. Stepping out into the moonless night I look up to heaven and breathe in starlight. — at Dummerston, Vt.”

—Roger Katz, Facebook photo, June 11, 2012

It was clear even to those who barely knew him that Roger Katz was one of those people who loved the life he so expertly chronicled with his camera.

Katz, of Dummerston, who died Monday after a long battle with cancer, was exquisitely talented at capturing personalities. In recent years, with the advent of social media, he shared 8,375 photos in fascinating random order with his almost 1,000 friends on Facebook. And, in those photographs, he told a community’s story through expressive portraits, hauntingly poignant landscapes, and the joy of people assembled for parades, dances, and other events where people would gather.

The community got to talk back to him, filling in gaps, tagging names, catching up after years slipped away, and, in some cases, discovering the work of a gifted observer of local life, local history, and local lore.

The same phrases keep coming up as people shared their memories and observations of Katz: mentor, artist, merchant, friend, biker, contradance aficionado, lover of community theater, Marlboro graduate, photojournalist. But above all, he was a gentle, kind, and generous soul who shared his work unstintingly with the community and, whenever we needed it, in the pages of this paper.

With a sparkle in his eyes, a tilt of his head, an impish grin, quiet understatement, and his camera at the ready, he would capture the images that reflected the attitudes of individuals and the gestalt of a community — and have an easy conversation while doing so.

We can think of no better way to honor the memory of our friend than with some of his images that show just a few of the people and places that mattered to him, described with his own words.

Rest in peace, Roger.

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