Longtime Kodak photographer Neil Montanus dies at 92

Sep 10, 2019

Neil Montanus traveled the world for Kodak, photographing the world’s most exotic locations and some of the most beautiful people.

He took a picture of Walt Disney that company executives said was the best ever taken of him and took the official White House portrait of President Gerald Ford.

The renowned photographer died last week in hospice in Rochester at the age of 92.

Montanus was also known producing more than 50 Coloramas, the huge photographs that were on display at New York’s Grand Central Station for decades and seen by hundreds of thousands of people each day.

In a 2017 interview on WXXI-TV’s “Need To Know” shortly after his 90th birthday, Montanus reflected on a career that he loved.

“Hard to believe that they would send me all over the world, several times over. And I was just in my seventh heaven,” he said.

Montanus won a photography contest when he was 10 years old, and the rest, as they say, is history.

His son Jim is owner of Montanus Photography and has been surrounded by photography all his life.

He said his dad worked hard to perfect his craft.

Neil Montanus and his son Jim in a 2017 interview on WXXI TV's "Need to Know."
Credit wxxi

“I actually didn’t like photography that much because my dad was relentless, constantly taking pictures of us and everything,” he said. “That was one of the secrets to his career.  He never stopped shooting.  He was constantly, constantly shooting, and he worked so hard.

“As great a photographer as my dad was, he was even a better father” he added. “The memories that we had together I will personally cherish the most for the rest of my life.”

Jim Montanus said he’s now going to parse through the incredible archive of the images his father had taken, many of which haven’t been seen in decades.

Kodak issued a statement on Facebook, saying Neil Montanus was a legend whose work inspired generations of photographers.

Funeral services will be held Sept. 21 at Lakeview Community Church in Greece.