It didn’t look like a place of business when we pulled into the driveway on that rainy March afternoon. And, in fact, it was the Media home of David Sacks.
As we emerged from the car and negotiated the toys strewn in our path, my daughter and I caught a glimpse of a young boy peering out the backdoor window. I waved, and he disappeared just as his dad came out of the garage to greet us. “This is where I come to work every day,” said Sacks with a warm smile, as he led us down the stairs and into his impressive basement studio.
For the next half hour, the photographer and his assistant, Sunny Miller, couldn’t have made us feel more at home as they snapped away. Afterward, we chatted while he burned more than 200 images culled from our session onto a disc—one of which made it into “Inseparable,” the Father’s Day photo essay featured in this issue. We kept the conversation light, talking about kids, family and an old-timers’ surfing session in Avalon, N.J., that he planned on shooting this summer. Sacks strained to speak, his vocal cords damaged by treatments for the cancer he was battling. He said surgery would correct the problem.
Soon after our visit, Sacks was in the hospital with excruciating stomach pain. His liver was failing. He emailed our creative director, Ingrid Lynch, to let her know that he wouldn’t be able to make an upcoming cover shoot. A few days later, on April 12, he passed away.
Most certainly, Sacks’ contributions to Main Line Today during the past 18 months have helped us raise our game considerably. His first contribution under my tenure, November 2011’s “Through His Lens,” earned us a national magazine award.
“I met David years ago, when he was just starting out in photography. He told me I gave him his first assignment,” Lynch recalls. “After working together for a few years, he moved to New York City, and we lost touch.”
When MLT previewed an event featuring Sacks’ work, Lynch sent him an email. “He called me immediately, and I was so happy to hear he was back in the area,” she says. “I told him I’d love to run a photo essay of his work in the magazine.”
A seasoned photographer with international reach, Sacks said he considered his work for us a necessary and therapeutic creative outlet. Despite his terminal diagnosis, he was determined to make the most of the time he had left. For our part, we embraced his enthusiasm and commitment—and prayed for his recovery. “I feel so grateful to have worked with such a great photographer and person,” says Lynch.
He will be missed.
For a compilation of David Sacks’ work, click here.