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Hank de Vre, My Hero

Once a week throughout the summer, without fail, photographer Hank de Vre picks up the phone in his truck and dials this office. “Hey, man,” he says when I answer, “it’s a hundred degrees up here and I’m paving driveways and I’m dyin’. How’d I do this month? Didja use any photos? Where’re you gonna send me this winter, huh? I can’t stop thinking about skiing!”

Then he’ll hang up. A week, five days later, sometimes two, he’s calling again. “Heyyy, man. I’m dyin’ up here. Send me somewhere cold.”

All summer long, Hang paves driveways in the Tahoe area. It’s grunt work, and he’d rather be taking pictures, but he does too well financially to stop. He’s building a comfortable house, and his wife and kids never seem too hungry, and—more important—he can afford to spend the winter shooting skiing.

In a world of excellent ski photographers, Hank stands out. He gets more excited about taking a great picture, and taking a great picture of great skiing, than anyone we work with. His enthusiasm—for skiing, for photography, for Powder—is unsurpassed. Hank even calls up raving about other photographers’ work, which is unheard of.

In the past season or so, Hank’s creativity has blossomed. He’s gone from shooting nice ski photos to shooting awesome ski photos. The pictures he always sent us before were nice, but his latest work has something extra about it, some magical element, that makes it shine above the rest. I’ve been struggling all year to figure out what it is, this new element, and I think I’ve finally figured it out: It’s subtlety. Hank has learned how to capture the subtle beauty of expert skiing in a way that few people ever have.

You hold in your hands a collection of the finest ski photography in the world. This is not a boast; it’s simply a fact. I’ve seen every major ski magazine in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, and not one of them comes close to the quality and sprit captured here. But we can’t, and won’t, take any credit for it. It’s only because of people like Hank, who work their butts off for not a lot of money and very little glory, that this issue is what it is. Thanks, Hank, and everyone else who sends us photos. This issue’s for you.

First published in Powder Magazine, issue 21.6, February 1993. Copyright Steve Casimiro 2001. All rights reserved.

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