Monday, December 06, 2021

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Lowell D. McFarland, 82

Lowell Dean McFarland of Westport died May 2 in Norwalk Hospital due to complications from heart failure. He was 82.

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Lowell McFarland: fashion photographer. Contributed photo

A resident of Westport since 1989, he was born in Independence, Missouri in 1937, the second of four sons of Francis Gale McFarland and Fay Seidelman.

The family moved to Brooklyn during World War II and Lowell graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and then from Pratt Institute in Fine Art. He was one of the early students in the newly created NYU Graduate School of Cinematography.

Lowell was an officer in the U.S. Army and commanded a signal unit stationed in France during the Berlin crisis. 

Afterward, he and his wife, Nancy, started a graphic design and advertising photography studio in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which became successful immediately.

Upon returning to New York, he opened his own studio that later became world-renowned in fashion photography.

He also worked as a director of photography on several full-length feature and documentary films, did early pre-digital animation and was an extraordinary designer, art director, film director, artist, photographer and sculptor.

Lowell additionally became a leader in community activism relating to artists’ and photographers’ issues in New York and was instrumental in gaining rights for artists and minority businessmen.

He also fought for equal tolerance and representation for minority religions and cultures in the United States and in Europe.

He was partly responsible for having video cameras installed at the Winter Solstice in Newgrange in Ireland, which is now an annual event. In France, he helped to have certain national laws changed to be more culturally inclusive.

He was passionate about justice and ethics and helped many organizations and causes throughout his life on several continents.

In 1995, he began working exclusively as a fine artist, having moved to Westport and settled into creating figurative sculpture, predominantly in steel and ceramic.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Wartella McFarland, his classmate at Pratt, fellow artist, business partner, muse and dedicated devotee.

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