In Memoriam

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Laurance Oliver Kunkel ’70

A picture of Laurance Kunkel

Laurance Oliver Kunkel ’70, September 20, 2014, at home in San Francisco, California. “In 1969, Larry used Paideia time and money to begin work on a collection of photography, poetry, prose, and calligraphy. The book Cathedral appeared recently as a result; when I saw it, I was inspired with new confidence both in Reed and in the concept of an independent study period,” wrote Jan Clausen ’71 in an article in the Reed publication Sallyport (February 1970). The process of creating Cathedral (and producing 1,000 copies) took 14 months. “It was suggested by several faculty members that I apply for interdisciplinary standing as a major in art and literature,” Larry said. “I formed an advisory committee of two members from each department, which approved my request.” Cathedral: A Montage of Graphics and Literature, dedicated to Lloyd Reynolds [English & art 1929–69], included work by 49 contributors and stood for Larry’s thesis. “I thought there was a lot of creative work being done at Reed that ought to have exposure. I wanted to produce something that contained beauty as a protest to the ugly things in our society.” Larry’s initial thought when he entered Reed was to study acting or physics. “I learned a great deal about what it means to read a poem, to look at a visual work, and most difficult of all, to gain some understanding of how the forms work together and relate to one another.” He went on to apprentice with a photographer in San Francisco. From Fred Ross, Larry’s closest friend, we learned that he became a successful commercial photographer in the Bay Area, “working from a beautiful, live studio that he restored. He specialized in complex, high-speed food photography in the age before digital cameras.” One notable ad, Ross says, captured a champagne cork an inch out of the bottle as it popped. “When his special skills were easily achieved with the use of digital photography, Larry turned to a meticulous renovation of a Victorian building next to his studio, where he lived out his last years in genteel luxury.” He is survived by his mother, Giselle V. Laurmann.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2015

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