Gary Miller: Always Learning, Always Loving It

Serial Presenter and More

Most LLI members know Gary Miller as a very popular serial presenter. Since 2018 he has taught classes every year centered around photography and filmmaking. Many of us know him as a willing volunteer when his skills are needed. He was part of the online class team that developed the Zoom class technology that carried us through the worst of the pandemic. He helped create the Communications Team’s photo library. He has photographed LLI events. It turns out Gary’s entire career mirrored the adaptability, ingenuity, and ease with which he has undertaken numerous volunteer tasks at LLI.

Kansas City Railroad Tracks

For the Love of It

Gary has a lifelong love of photography. From age 12 he had a darkroom at home and, through his father’s work, was introduced to many of the great photographers for LIFE magazine. As a teenager he won a Scholastic/Kodak Photo Award that netted him a summer job driving around the United States to create photos of people and places where Kodak offered to send travel writers. He learned how to spot the photo opportunity, talk to people, set up an itinerary, organize what was needed to get the job done—in other words, many of the skills needed to become a freelance photographer. In fact, he wrote Freelance Photography on how to be successful as a freelance photographer.


His varied career took him around the world for corporate and editorial clients, to Sesame Street, where he did still photography for the program, and to the New York Stock Exchange, where he created the first live video studio for the then nascent TV business news channels.

Typical is his story of how he became a filmmaker. He had been shooting industrial stills for corporate public relations when his client asked him, “Can you make a film?” Gary answered, “Yes.” “How many films have you made?” “None.” That discussion launched his filmmaking career with a film, in Russian, to teach Russian farmers how to best grow their crops.

Big Bird and Gary Miller

On the Water

Another gift from his father was the love of sailing. His first job out of college was for Motor Boating and Sailing magazine, photographing and writing about sailboats and powerboats in many of America’s cruising grounds. Boats ranged from 10-foot dinghies to 72-foot ocean racing sailboats. His stories profiled offshore swordfishing tournaments, the Bermuda race, a doctor who traveled to small islands in the Grenadines providing care, or the simple enjoyment of being out on the water.

The Pleasures of Presenting

After moving to Ulster County seven years ago, Gary and his wife Ann came to LLI on the recommendation of a friend. How lucky we were! Beginning in 2018, Gary has taught classes entitled Smartphone Videojournalism, about how to make documentaries with your smartphone; Strong Women, Strong Stories, Strong Storytellers, portraying women writers, authors, artists and photojournalists; The World Through the Eyes of Photojournalism, about how photojournalism recorded history; Masters of Photography, about how photographers learned from their predecessors; and Your Photographic Eye, in which a group of LLI photographers learned from each other.

“What is really exciting,” says Gary, “Is the opportunity to share with fellow LLI members what I’ve learned by people sharing with me. It is also satisfying to belong to LLI teams that keep our community as successful as it is.”

Strong Women