Reports began circulating yesterday of the passing of Digital Desire’s chief photographer, J. Stephen Hicks and were confirmed by Hicks’ business partner and fellow lensman, Jay Allan, who sent AVN a note in tribute to the man he called mentor and friend.
“[Hicks] was a true pioneer in the adult industry,” Allan wrote. “At a time when there were only about a doze photographers worldwide shooting for the adult magazine market, J. Stephen Hicks’ work stood out as exceptional. It still does today.”
Anyone familiar with Hicks’ work for Digital Desire, or his earlier print work for Penthouse, Hustler, Club, Gallery, and High Society magazines, surely recognizes the enormous talent he had. Not content with only seeing his later work online, in 2004 Hicks even published a hardcover Digital Desire book containing nearly 200 pages of his finest work. He followed this release with another hardcover collection, Superbeauty, in 2010. Both the printed and digital versions of Hicks’ photography offer prime examples of what Allan calls “the beautiful natural light and calculated composition that his images always contained.”
“Stephen taught his team to always put 100 percent of their creative energy into every image and video and to try to make everything as artistic and beautiful as possible,” Allan continued. “As a photographer he had no equal and took every step to artistically and creatively make every girl we shot look her absolute best. I am very lucky to have known and learned from the best and I am at least comforted by knowing that his legacy will live on and his amazing body of work will always be here for us to enjoy.”
Digital Desire, which most recently received a thoroughly impressive 91% approval rating from Mr. Pink’s back in July of ’12, will continue to showcase Hicks’ work and legacy, albeit with some new blood taking the photographic reigns, a group Allan calls “an amazing teanm of artists who will carry with his beautiful erotica the way he taught us since we were young.”
Allan’s final words on his departed friend and mentor could easily have come from any one of Hicks’ devoted fans and followers, “I will miss him dearly.”