Irish Times photographer David Sleator dies suddenly

Tributes paid to ‘most reliable, decent, down-to-earth guy’


The sudden death has occurred of award-winning photographer and Irish Times Joint Picture Editor David Sleator.

Aged 53, he had been a member of staff at the newspaper since 1998 and had worked as a freelance photographer for The Irish Times since 1995.

Prior to that he worked for 14 years in news and sports photography, mainly in the magazine sector.

He served as president of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) for three terms and had also been vice-president and secretary with the association.

He was appointed Irish Times Deputy Picture Editor in September 2001 and appointed its Joint Picture Editor in September 2009.

During a gathering in the Irish Times newsroom this afternoon Editor Kevin O’Sullivan paid tribute to an “outstanding picture editor, a leading news photographer, and a guiding light for the Press Photographers Association of Ireland over many years”.

He said Mr Sleator was “blessed with a tremendous feel for compelling imagery in terms of the pictures he took, and in editing photographs to heighten their news and visual impact.

“He was from the school of gentle management which came with charm and great, understated efficiency.

“Our sympathy goes to his wife Judith, daughter Judith Eileen, his extended family, friends, fellow photographers, and colleagues.”

A rally driver at one point, his love of motor racing was reflected in the superb images he captured whether on the by-roads of Ireland, in Mondello or the Phoenix Park.

He was also passionate about clay-pigeon shooting.

Colleague and fellow Joint Picture Editor Frank Miller described him as the most reliable, decent, down-to-earth guy you could meet, both as a professional and as a human being.

“He was the sort of man anyone could turn to. A rock of sense.”

Retired Irish Times picture editor Peter Thursfield said “he was such a pleasant guy. A great lover of motor sports, he loved to cover the annual Phoenix Park races.”