Dee Lippingwell – Award-winning Photographer succumbs to Cancer

Dee Lippingwell
Dee Lippingwell – Rock Photographer

Music Express lost one of its original contributors with the passing of Dee Lippingwell Thursday May 11th in Vancouver.

“I first met Dee in March 1977 after launching Alberta Music Express in October 1976” explained Musi Express publisher Keith Sharp. “I was working as a sports writer for the Calgary Herald and a junior A tier two hockey team, The Calgary Canucks had just qualified for the BC-Alberta Centennial Cup playoffs against the Richmond Sockeyes so I utilized my trip out to Vancouver to also do some recruiting for Alberta Music Express which was just a side venture at that time.

I was tipped off about Tom Harrison being the guy to contact as a possible journalist contributor whom I met and the late Vancouver Province/Georgia Strait scribe agreed to serve as my BC editor for  AME. And it was he who recommended this feisty local photographer – Dee Lippingwell as someone I should also recruit. He passed along her phone number, I called her, and she immediately agreed to meet me for a coffee in the Gastown area.

She had a decent portfolio of local shots, was making headroads as THE local rock photographer and she was willing to agree to add Alberta Music Express to her contact list.

Her first assignment for Alberta Music Express came a few months later in 1977 when Columbia Records asked me if I would put Heart on the cover of my next issue and agreed to fly me to the band’s home base of Seattle where they were staging a major outdoor concerto celebrate the success of their second album “Magazine” which also featured the U.S debut of Foreigner. The original seven-player lineup of Vancouver’s Prism and U.S artist Stephen Bishop. Dee snapped this amazing shot of the full Heart band sitting backstage on a hill-and that was the shot which made the magazine cover.

Dee worked for a couple of years out of Vancouver, building her contacts by shooting pictures of Bruce Allen’s stable of talent (Prism, Bryan Adams, Loverboy) but also Trooper, Doug And The Slugs and Chilliwack were also regular subjects as well as major U.S and British artists who concert promoters CPI booked into Vancouver venues.

When Music Express (as it was now known) relocated to Toronto in early 1980, Dee followed us and established herself as our main photographer, shooting the major Heatwave festival at Mosport Speedway on August 23rd which featured the likes of Talking Heads, Pretenders, Elvis Costello, The B-52’s plus local bands like Teenage Head and The Kings.

The lure of Vancouver eventually pulled her back to Vancouver, but she still continued to contribute timely pix to the magazine. With her sophisticated filling system, Dee also launched a successful series of photo books, “The Best Shot In The House” “First Three Songs – No Flash” and “Memories From The Mountain – a collection of photos she took from the Merritt BC Mountain Festival) and her final plus several calendars and a popular imprint service of her many amazing live shots.

Sadly, with the advent of VIP seating at the front of the stage limiting shooting access forcing photographers to shoot well back from the soundboard and the loss of print media in general due to the advent of social media, rock photographers have become virtually obsolete and Dee retired from the industry to be with her husband Paul.

But she did contribute to my book, “Music Express – The Rise And Fall Of Canada’s Music Magazine”, providing a live shot of Elvis Costello from that Heatwave concert plus a great shot of ace manager Bruce Allen posed by his sports car.

Rest In Peace Dee your legacy is historic.

Related posts