Obituary: Alex Michael Williams, 1962-2014, Burlington | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Alex Michael Williams, 1962-2014, Burlington

Published September 16, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.


Alex Michael Williams passed away on September 11, 2014, in Burlington, Vermont. Alex was born on April 5, 1962, in West Lafayette, Indiana. He graduated from Westwood (MA) High School, in 1980. He attended the New England College and University of Vermont. Alex was a staff photographer for the student newspaper the Cynic at UVM in the early 1980s.

In 1983, Alex relocated to London, England, to work as a photo assistant. He lived in Boston for a time, with his friend and former Pinhead drummer Ron Ward. They were in the audience during a seminal period for the Boston rock music scene. Alex shot live music, did album covers and band photos. Early Mission of Burma promotional photos are credited to Alex. In 1985, he moved to New York City, an exciting, gritty era in the city, and resided in the epicenter of the punk music scene on Avenue A on the Lower East Side. Alex assisted at photo studios, freelanced with print publications such as DETAILS, and photographed artwork for such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Julian Schnabel.

Alex returned to the greener pastures of Vermont, worked with photographer Didier Delmas and at Photogarden on College Street. He created album art, worked as an independent photographer and many projects with Rose McNulty. Alex collaborated extensively with his friend David Roby. In 1997, Alex took the position of in-house studio photographer at Jager Di Paolo Kemp Design of Burlington. He was teamed up with his dear friend, Leslie Dowe Twitchell, thrived in the setting, and stayed for 12 years.

The JDK studio garnered Alex much respect, access to world-class clients and travel to shooting locations across the United States. The extensive client list included Merrell, Burton, Microsoft, Liz Claiborne, STX Lacrosse, Bauer, Segway, International Paper, Vermont Teddy Bear, Sebago, Seventh Generation, Giant Bicycles and SRAM. From 2009 until the time of his death, Alex had his own business, Alex Williams Photo. He is survived by his parents, Dr. Russell and Lois Williams of Lower Waterford, Vt.; a sister, Kathy Cabana, and her husband, Ralph, of Portland, Me; a brother, John Williams, of Albany, Vt.; brother Christopher Williams, and his wife, Jean, of Los Cruces, N.M.; former wives Claudia Venon and Bridget O’Connor; his longtime friend and recent partner, Alison FitzPatrick; his beloved pug, Louise; and many dear friends near and far.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, September 22, at 5 p.m. at First Unitarian Universalist Society church on Pearl Street in Burlington. Brett Hughes will be musical director.

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