PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Feldman, a top photo editor whose 40-year career took him from the gritty streets of Philadelphia to major international sporting events including the Olympics and soccer's World Cup, died Wednesday. He was 70.
Feldman, who spent two decades as a photography news leader at The Associated Press before his 2008 retirement, died at his Philadelphia home, according to his son, Adam Feldman. He had suffered serious health problems in recent years.
"Mike was an excellent and reliable editor during the time he worked on the New York picture desk," said Hal Buell, a retired AP executive news photo editor who worked with Feldman at the AP and UPI.
The Philadelphia native caught the photography bug as a young teenager, with his carpenter father helping him build a darkroom in their home.
Feldman worked as a staff photographer for UPI in Philadelphia early in his professional career. Among other assignments, he covered the nation's bicentennial; a deadly 1978 standoff between police and the radical group MOVE; the assassination of mob boss Angelo Bruno; and Philadelphia's pro sports scene, aiming his lens at stars including the Philadelphia Phillies' Pete Rose and the 76ers' Julius Erving.
"Half my career was as a street shooter," he once wrote.
Feldman then headed overseas, working for Reuters in Brussels as a photo editor and photographer before joining the AP in 1988. He oversaw the news cooperative's international photo operation from London for more than a decade before returning to New York as senior photo editor for sports.
Feldman ended his career as the AP's deputy director of photography, responsible for international news photo coverage and major sporting events.
"The one constant that I most admired was his attentiveness and concern, not only for the photos we produced but also the people who created those images," said longtime colleague Denis Paquin, the AP's acting director of photography.
Feldman never stopped taking photos, concentrating on Philadelphia architecture, people in the local park and his own family. He got a new Leica a month before his death.
"It was definitely his life's passion," Adam Feldman said.
In addition to his son, Feldman is survived by his wife, Mary-Ann Feldman, and his mother, brother, daughter-in-law and a grandson.