Raymond H. Kellman, retired fashion photographer and longtime Chilmark resident, died on Friday, August 27. He was 97.

He was born Oct. 17, 1923 to Max Kellman, an immigrant tailor from Poland, and Mollie Kaplan Kellman from Brooklyn. He and his sisters Ruth and Shirley grew up in Brooklyn during the Depression. He worked for his father, pushing racks of clothing on the streets of New York city.

His education at City College of New York was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he flew B-24 bombers and eventually became a flight instructor.

Prior to his time in the Army, he met and fell in love with Lillian Strauss. He was smitten with her vivacity and they shared a love of classical music. In 1945, they married in her parent’s living room. It was the beginning of a love affair that lasted 70 years and was an inspiration to others.

As a young boy, Ray was inspired by his sister’s fashion magazines to enter the world of photography. At 14, he saved up for his first camera, a Rolleicord.

After the war, he began his career as a commercial fashion photographer. He was self taught and began photographing on the streets of Manhattan. He became successful and his photographs appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Vanity Fair and many other magazines.

He pioneered the use of natural light and shooting outdoors, experimented with lighting, and innovated new techniques. He shot in his studio as well as on locations around the world. He was self employed throughout his 35-year career and mentored many assistants who went on to become successful photographers.

Ray and Lillian raised a family of three children, Chrissie, Peter and Lisa. Though the intensity of his work in New York kept him very busy, he always made family a priority, including summer beach outings and family travels. He also became accomplished on the recorder.

He and Lillian fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard and moved to the Island in 1980. They formed many strong friendships and participated fully in life on the Island.

It was important for Ray to give back to the community he loved so much. He served on the Chilmark conservation commission for 26 years and was on the board of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

He was one of the founders of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society and helped to put on their annual summer concert series. His own music group, The Island Consort, in which he played recorder, performed at weddings and concerts for many years. He taught photography classes at Featherstone Center for the Arts, sharing his love for photography and the arts.

Ray and Lillian traveled the world, finding particular joy in southern France. He made connections with other musicians that lead to lifelong friendships. He enjoyed spending time in his vegetable garden on the Island, learning to bake bread, and entertaining friends with delicious meals. He loved to sing and any word could set him off into a song.

His generosity, vitality, humor, and his engagement with people and the world at large will be missed by those he leaves behind: his daughter Chrissie Kellman, son Peter Kellman and wife Kim, daughter Lisa Kellman and her partner Dino Lucas, grandchildren Michael and Matthew Kellman, as well as many close friends. He was predeceased by his loving wife, Lillian.

A memorial is being planned for the future. Donations can be made to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services at 111 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.