Bud Lee, 74, passed away yesterday morning from complications following a surgery. He was born Charles Todd Lee, on January 11, 1941 in White Plains, NY. The family spent years in South American countries, he ended up going to the Columbia School of Fine Arts and National Academy of Fine Arts in Manhattan. In the Army, he became a photographer for Stars and Stripes. In 1966 he became the Military Photographer of the Year.
A year later he was working for LIFE magazine, earning a cover while working on the Newark riots for a photograph of a young boy who was inadvertently shot by police.
During the following years Bud Lee worked as a photojournalist freelancing for Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Vogue, Mother Jones, Ms. magazine, London Records, Columbia Records, The Sunday Times magazine, the World Telegraph and others.
In 1972 he founded the Iowa Photographer's Workshop at the University of Iowa. He received an NEA grant to start the Artist Filmmaker in the Schools program in Tampa.
He founded the Artists and Writers Trust, taught filmmaking, freelanced, and in 1990 co-founded the Artists and Writers Ball along with Peggy Lee, David Audet, Paul Wilborn. Beverly Coe, Bebe Williams and Mary D. Scourtes in response to the then even more elitist Gasparilla Parade festivities. This evolved into the Guavaween Parade and Festival.
In the Arts, as with everything else, it is always a handful of people who move the mountains and make all the difference in the future. Bud Lee was a leader within that group to which we owe, in large part, the present-day Arts Scene in Tampa.
I mostly knew Bud from running into each other at events. He always had a kind word for me, mentoring and inspiring at every turn. He was an asset to this City, a friend to so many, one who will be sorely missed.
In August 2003, he suffered a debilitating stroke. This did not deter him from making art.
RIP, Bud Lee.