Known professionally for his talented eye and ability to bring a unique perspective to both the everyday and exotic, T.R. Youngstrom holds a distinguished place in the family tree of skiing’s most legendary photographers. A towering beacon of joy that breathed life into even the worst of days, his legacy was a culmination of smiles, hard work and intrinsic talent. Shooting to inspire with T.R. Youngstrom.
It was August 9th, 1997. I was at a wedding, excited for my soon-to-be-married friends—but secretly more excited about the fax I had received earlier that day from my roommate, photographer Thomas Robert “T.R.” Youngstrom. It said, “If you like red wine and long coulies, you will love Portillo.” I love wine and couloirs, and enjoying them with one of my best friends…let’s just say my impending flight south occupied my mind far more than vows or bouquets.
And then, amongst my excitement and the happiness of the marriage festivities, a moment I will never forget: a friend approached, saying there was someone outside who needed to speak to me.
There had been a helicopter accident, they told me. T.R. had passed away.
The rest was a blur of shock and disbelief. No one as pure as T.R. could ever be gone.
There is a family tree of ski photographers going back to Dick Durrance, branching into names like Mark Shapiro, Ave Kvale and Lee Cohen, and soon fanning out into the iconic photogs of today, talents such as Jordan Manley, Adam Clark and Grant Gunderson. T.R. adhered to that same meandering and artistic path, following the greats who shot to inspire…