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LaDuke’s photos on display at BluSeed Studios

August 9, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St., willl present the color photography of Jack LaDuke, titled "Sun & Shadow" through Sept. 16.

There will be an opening from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16.

This collection by LaDuke is a presentation of space, shape and light whereby the artist has juxtaposed familiar geography with far away landscapes.

LaDuke was born in Keeseville to French Canadian parents, Leduc and Roi, with a family history dating back to Quebec in the mid 17th century.

A graduate of Admiral Farragut Academy, Toms Rivers, N.J., he holds a degree in History from the University of Madrid, Spain.

LaDuke, with his wife Scottish-born Marina Roy (a former staff photographer for the Montreal Gazette), moved to Saranac Lake in 1978 when he became audio visual director for the Lake Placid Olympics.

For 30 years, he was the New York bureau chief with WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.

LaDuke began to take pictures on a regular basis when he earned a Boy Scout merit badge in photography. In the darkroom he saw a picture come to life on a pure white sheet of paper and was hooked on picture-taking from there on.

A couple of local Keeseville photographers were kind enough to show him the basic steps of the craft. At the age of 15 he earned enough money taking pictures of school activities and selling them to students to buy a 4X5 Speed Graphic, the work horse of the photo industry of the day. This allowed him to do commercial work and weddings.

About this time, he sent a dozen pictures of the John Brown Farm in Lake Placid to the Albany Times Union. The Sunday editor liked them and this led to series of assignments from the Times Union.

The travel editor of the New York Times saw some of his work and liked it. He offered the young photographer a chance to do photography for the Times and he quickly accepted. Remember that he was still too young to get a driver's license, so his mother drove him to assignments.

While attending the University of Madrid, LaDuke was photo editor for Guidepost, a Spanish travel and history magazine. It was ideal work for a young man and put him in the position to travel throughout the country, photographing Spain while it was still under the strict control of General Franco who kept the country years behind in development.

Upon returning to the North Country, he became associated with Denton Publications in Elizabethtown and several other people interested in starting up an magazine, to be called the Adirondack Life.

An unexpected telephone call from the U.S. State Department led to a three-year assignment in Central America. In El Salvador he trained young Salvadorians to shoot still photographs and motion picture film for a new educational television network the country and the U.S. government were establishing.

Despite the country of El Salvador going to war with Honduras, where everyone was put on a war-footing, the LaDuke's said that their three years there was one of the most rewarding adventures they experienced.

After decades of shooting film, LaDuke thought little of the upcoming digital age, so he held off shooting digital for several years. Once he purchased his first digital camera, he quickly said farewell forever to George Eastman's celluloid invention.

Although LaDuke is retired, he still regularly produces video stories about the Adirondacks for Mountain Lake Journal, PBS, in Plattsburgh and carries out frequent photography assignments for the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

Much of LaDuke's photography over the years and even today, deals with editorial photography. However, his love for nature photography with the play of sun and shadows was always present and has grown over the years. His other interests is travel with many trips to Central and South America, Egypt and Europe.



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