Peter B. Kaplan, 79, Daredevil Photographer From on High, Dies

by Brett Harper

Peter B. Kaplan, a photographer who captured marvelous views from vertiginous vantage points just like the torch of the Statue of Liberty and the masts of the Empire State Building and the unique World Trade Center, died on March 19 in Wilmington, Del. He becomes seventy-nine.

His spouse, Sharon R. Kaplan, said the cause changed into interstitial lung sickness, which she attributed in the element to his breathing in debris in Lower Manhattan after the terrorist assaults of 9-11, 2001. Mr. Kaplan first experimented together with his gravity-defying birds-eye panoramas long before the advent of drones, prolonged selfie sticks, and permissions for helicopters to hover close to skyscrapers.

He persuaded architects, developers, and public officials to permit him to immortalize their homes and monuments on film in altitudinous detail. He would scale precarious perches with construction people and point his lens in the direction of the ground masses of ft underneath, or mount his digital camera, now and then geared up with a fisheye lens, on poles as long as 42-ft so that he should snap the shutter remotely or even photo himself.


Mr. Kaplan’s route to aerial photography become serendipitous. With his dyslexia going undiagnosed as a boy, he struggled with analyzing and math in school; photography has become perfect self-expression.

He later observed photography’s capacity for visceral firepower. When he showed his first spouse and a neighbor a photograph had taken from the Empire State Building’s commentary deck through thrusting his digital camera beyond the barrier and pointing it directly down, they each have become queasy. He also had to overcome his fear of heights, which he had little opportunity to confront while growing up on Long Island.

In the advent to Mr. Kaplan’s first ebook, “High on New York” (1985), Paul Goldberger, then the chief structure critic for The New York Times, wrote, “These unusual pictures combine the skill of an expert photographer, the belief of a fine painter and the daring of a trapeze artist.” Mr. Kaplan’s photographs have been featured on commemorative stamps for the Statue of Liberty Centennial in 1986 and regarded, amongst other places, in his e-book “Liberty for All” (2002).

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He was shielding his work, loyal (he helped establish the Marty Forscher Fellowship to honor a grasp digicam repairer), and incessant.

“Nothing — together with every so often us — stood in his manner,” said Stephen A. Briganti, president and leader govt of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. He “gave the Statue human qualities and characteristics which contemplated his deep reverence and obsession for his issue count number,” Sharon Kaplan said. Mr. Kaplan chronicled the monument’s healing in some 125,000 images over a decade.

On Sept. 29, 1939, Peter Benjamin Kaplan was born in Manhattan to Dr. William and Lillian (Block) Kaplan. His father turned into a founder of North Shore University Hospital on Long Island; his mother changed into an artist and sculptor. The Email he had in a few methods internalized the statue’s torch-wearing was illustrated inside the title he gave his signature photograph, “Liberté Mon Amour,” and via his desire of a center called for each of his kids: Liberty.

Raised in Great Neck, N.Y., Peter attended Cherry Lawn School (now closed) in Darien, Conn., and Great Neck High School. He enrolled in premedical courses at C. W. Post College on Long Island and Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He studied images at what is now Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Tex. He also served in the Army.

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His marriage to Harriet Avramescu ended in divorce. In 1985, he married Sharon Rosenbush on a platform on the 96th floor of the Empire State Building. (Their wedding bands were manufactured from surplus copper from the Statue of Liberty’s reconstructed torch.)

Since 1995, the couple had lived in Hockessin, in northwest Delaware. In addition to his spouse, Mr. Kaplan is survived by a daughter, Ricki Liberty Kaplan, Gabriel Liberty Kaplan, and two brothers, David and Dr. Alan Kaplan.

Mr. Kaplan’s pictures have appeared in exhibitions in New York on the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center for Photography, the New-York Historical Society, the Skyscraper Museum, and in Washington on the Smithsonian Institution, amongst other locations.

They have been additionally enclosed in time drugs to commemorate the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building.

Beginning a long time ago, even when security was looser, and Mr. Kaplan changed into fortified by way of $5 million in liability insurance, he might regularly have to spend months negotiating for dispensation to clamber up scaffolds, bridge cables, and antennas.

He spent 12 harrowing days photographing the installation of the almost four hundred-foot-tall antennae of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

“I constructed my call and recognition on safety and doing things legally, with permission,” he advised Shutterbug magazine in 2007.

Mr. Kaplan’s perspectives protected the peaks of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge linking Brooklyn and Staten Island.

One vantage point evaded him: the Eiffel Tower. “In the mid-80s, when it was developing to the one centesimal anniversary, I wrote to the manager of the tower, the only guy who could supply permission,” Mr. Kaplan recalled. “I instructed him who I become and what I’d finished, mainly my paintings photographing the Statue of Liberty. He wrote again, ‘No.’ ”

Through buddies, Mr. Kaplan even enlisted Mayor Jacques Chirac and President François Mitterand to assist his case. “I’m positive he wondered who I changed into that I could get the mayor of Paris and the president of France to act on my behalf,” Mr. Kaplan stated, “however it didn’t remember to him. He nevertheless grew to become me down.”

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