Lou Stoumen; Photographer and Teacher


Lou Stoumen, whose photographs ranged from the idealistic young servicemen of World War II to the stark reality of Raymond Chandler’s novels, has died at his home in Sebastopol, Calif., it was learned this week.

Stoumen, an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and longtime teacher at UCLA, was 75 when he died Sept. 20 of cancer.

Whether devoting himself to the seedy streets of Times Square or a series he titled “In Praise of Women,” Stoumen’s work was known for its human presence. If not always in impeccable taste, it was always sensitive.


In one of the catalogues that accompanied his many showings, Stoumen wrote: “I try to learn enough art, compassion and laughter to stop time occasionally--to manifest on photographic paper a few ordinary miracles.”

Born in Pennsylvania, he worked as a journalist and photographer in New York just before World War II, a period in which he took many of the Times Square photos for which he was famous. In 1985, he put them between hard covers and published the anthology “Times Square: 45 Years of Photographs.”

After the war, Stoumen came to California and produced documentaries. Two of them, “The True Story of the Civil War” (1956) and “Black Fox” (1962) won Oscars. From 1966 to 1986 he taught film classes at UCLA. He moved to Sebastopol a few years ago.

His other books included the autobiographical “Can’t Argue With Sunrise,” and “Ordinary Miracles.” In 1989, his pictures were used to illustrate a deluxe issue of Chandler’s “The Big Sleep.”

Survivors include three daughters.