Andre Richard Rowe
Born: 9/17/1974, Jamacia
To those who posed for him and especially his friends and many colleagues, they understood it was always about the light. André Richard Rowe, a commercial photographer based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. with more than 20 years of experience died tragically in the early morning hours of March 8, in Moab, Utah following a photo shoot on location. He was 39. Rowe’s close-knit circle of survivors includes his mother, Lola Rowe, nine siblings, extended family members, girlfriend, industry professionals, and friends.
“It saddens me to think of his passing. So young, talented and most important: genuine. To André, photography was life, love and happiness,” said Julius Gregorio, a fashion photographer based in Fort Lauderdale who was among the countless individuals who shared in honor of Rowe during his memorial service March 15.
Rowe was a visual artist of photographic design who possessed incomparable zeal and shared his success with like minds. His enthusiasm was undeniable. “Many times after a 20-hour work day ... I’d look over at André [to] ask him how he was doing and his enthusiastic “I’m great, what’s next!” would be enough to get me through the rest of the day,” said Colin King, Vice President of Marketing, Hasselblad Bron, Inc., Americas. Broncolor is the Switzerland-based leading worldwide brand for flash photography equipment. Broncolor invited Rowe to visit in 2009, a privilege reserved for press and seasoned distributors. His working knowledge of photography and lighting gear was a welcomed perspective. “Rowe’s insight was always appreciated,” King said. Rowe was often Broncolor’s go-to photographer to test and offer working knowledge about its gear prior to being released into the market. Broncolor and Rowe are leading industry professionals and were equally obliged by their relationship. If you consider that a child’s world is formed by what they see, then it’s not hard to understand Rowe’s fascination with light. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Rowe’s mother was the first to put a camera in his hands at age 4 with him capturing a timeless portrait of his parents soon afterward. He developed an understanding of photography from his father Frank Rowe, an accomplished photographer himself for more than 40 years.
During his teen years, Rowe earned several awards for photography and journalism. He graduated from Boyd Anderson High School in 1992. Before graduating, his ongoing hobby and love affair with lighting and photography turned serious when he landed a position on the Correspondence Staff at the Sun Sentinel, a daily newspaper based in Fort Lauderdale. It was during that time when Rowe carefully scrutinized his desire to capture his artistic talent by way of photography. Self-taught, Rowe started with a Minolta camera and maintained a predilection for film. To shoot with manual focus remained his preference through the digital era with Nikon. Dale Laboratories was his longstanding photo lab in Hollywood, Fla. He first used lighting gear from Norman followed by Profoto and ended with Broncolor. “I chose Broncolor ... because simply they're the best,” Rowe said in a HasselbladAS shootNYC 2013 video interview. “André shaped me into who I am today. Every click of my camera belongs to him and every judgment I make comes with the thought of “what would André do?” I am an ongoing part of his legacy,” said Shaina Levitt, a mentee of Rowe and owner of Shaina Leigh Management and Photography based in Fort Lauderdale.
Magazine art directors often hired Rowe for his compelling images in lifestyle and fashion photography. His innate understanding of lighting led him to become known for an uncompromising approach that gave him the ability to create professional and marketable images published nationally and internationally.
Andre was one of the most prolific shooters I have ever worked with,” said King. “I think about André … every day since he’s been gone and try to live my life as André did.”
Rowe inspired novice to industry professionals including other photographers across the U.S. and abroad. Aspiring and accomplished models regularly praised his tireless and generous work ethic in which he often delivered work with a philanthropic approach that left his clients speechless. Rowe’s altruistic quality connected him with community organizations such as A Child Is Missing and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“André was not only a friend to me, but he was family. He holds a huge part of my heart!,” said Aspen Brandy Lea, a model based in California. “[He] changed my life … I can genuinely thank André for my career. André is the core, the one person who connects so many of us models, agents and photographers. Thanks to him he created so many lifelong friendships.”
A seasoned professional, Rowe lived his life focused on his passion. In October 2011 he founded Appleseed Studios. King described the concept behind the company name as perfect for Rowe’s devotion to build or plant an orchard of studios to create beautiful images and share his how-to knowledge without edit or reserve.
“André was there for important moments of my life. Photography was such a huge part of André, but was also such a small part at the same time. He saw life through different eyes. Nothing would change him, not money, not material things, not people. He is an exception. He is special. He was a gift,” said Levitt. “This world lost one of its best.” Appleseed Studios was a work-ready space that featured a full line of Broncolor lighting gear.
Rowe’s vision for Appleseed Studios also outreached online via Meetup.com for his photography lighting workshops. His family and professionals appointed to manage his business will announce the future plans for Appleseed Studios and its Meetup group at a later time.
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