Vic Di Lucia announced that he would retire at the end of July. The NY journalism scene will be greatly diminished without his presence. Too bad. Not that he doesn't deserve to retire. Vic has worked the scene here in NY City and the suburbs for over 48 years. He told me that he started his career with the old NY Journal American and worked there as a photographer for 13 years. When the Journal American folded, he was hired by the NY Post and he worked there for 14 years. Finally, his talents were sought after and he went to work for the NY Times. He has been with the Gray Lady for 21 years.

Forty-eight years. That's a lot of time in one career. But, this was truly a labor of love for Vic. He has always been a devotee of good photographic principles and practices. I've known Vic for a good part of those forty-eight years and I've known him to be a good competitor. I have learned a lot about my craft from keeping an eye on him and watching his approach to assignments. One of the wonderful things about this gentle man is that he is always ready and willing to share his expertise with you, no matter if you are a green beginner or a grizzled veteran. 

Every news photographer who has ever worked with Vic will agree that he is, indeed, a gentle man. He is soft spoken and self effacing. He works stories from the edges and rarely gets in anyone's face. Still, he gets his close-ups, and you have to wonder how he did that. While the rest of the pack is jostling for a position, I have seen this man stand calmly to hold his place in the milling mob, while around him the media circus performs.

He has covered just about every major news event that ever took place in this area, during his tenure. Vic has done many a long hour on a football sideline in all kinds of weather, shooting the NY Giants and NY Jets games. The same goes for the NY Yankees and NY Mets baseball games. Basketball, hockey and thoroughbred horse racing were also recorded for posterity by this versatile photographer.

I think that there has only been one other news photographer whom I have ever known to be better dressed than Vic. Louie Liotta, of the NY Post, had to be #1. But, that's because Lou wore a fedora. Otherwise, Vic has always set the standard for proper dress for us.

In all the years that I have known him, I have always appreciated his devotion to his family. I have never heard him bragging about his kids, but, I know that they and his wife occupied a major part of his life. And his God. He never talked religion, but I know him to be a very spiritual man. No matter what he wore, there was always a pin in his lapel that made a simple statement that epitomized Vic DiLucia. It said "Try God."

A bunch of his friends threw him a retirement party a few weeks ago. For some strange reason, the planners of the party made it a luncheon in the early afternoon of a working day. A lot of people wanted to attend but couldn't because they were working. In spite of that, there was a very respectable turn-out. Vic has a lot of friends. There were a number of fossils, like myself, as well as a large contingent of young shooters. They came from every paper still publishing in NY and Long Island. There were also some editors, writers and columnists. This guy's popularity crossed departmental lines.

As the afternoon wore on, various attendees would rise and say a few words about Vic. To a man/woman, everyone praised Vic's professionalism. They spoke about his calm demeanor and his impeccable style of dress. There weren't many of the kind of stories that we all love to repeat about the goof-ups and the wild times. Somehow, Vic managed to avoid all of this while still being able to do his job. When it came my turn to speak, I said that it was difficult to add much to what had been said. Everyone, I said, had voiced the same praises about his professionalism and his attitude and dress.

 "You're boring, Vic," I stated. Everyone's mouth dropped open. Except for Vic. He just smiled at me. "You're boring because no one can tell any wild stories about you. I can probably tell some interesting tales about two thirds of the photographers in this room, who were involved in some kind of crazy scene or debauchery. But, you always managed to do a great job without getting into any of that."

Vic DiLucia is anything but boring. If you talk with him, you will find him to be an intelligent conversationalist and has some great stories to tell. What I said was meant to be a compliment to his professional abilities. I hope that everyone understood that. I know that Vic did.

Good luck, Old Friend. You will be sorely missed.

Dick Kraus
Staff Photographer

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