Monday Devotional: Celebrating the life of Anacleto Rapping

Anacleto Rapping

Treat your neighbors like celebrities and celebrities like your neighbors.

– Anacleto Rapping

This Sunday, I lost a good friend Anacleto Rapping to colon cancer. Because of my faith in Jesus, I believe in the afterlife and heaven. I think one day we will be reunited.

4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:4

While I will miss Anacleto, I didn’t want us to hold onto him and have him suffer in pain. Today Anacleto is no longer suffering, but I believe in the presence of God.

I met Anacleto at Southwestern Photojournalism Conference many years ago. Here is the bio we posted in 2015 when he was one of the speakers.

Anacleto Rapping
Los Angeles, California 

Anacleto Rapping has placed his passion for storytelling at the heart of every picture he has taken over a more than three-decade professional career.

As a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times for two decades, Rapping brought us four Presidential campaigns, five Olympic Games, three World Cup Soccer tournaments, three Academy Award shows, and countless breaking news stories and sporting events. His gift for visually capturing historic moments broadened his understanding of the world and national events. It allowed him to chronicle news events as they unfolded throughout the United States and in foreign locales such as South Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Singapore, Guatemala, Mexico, and Canada.

While at the Los Angeles Times, Rapping shared three Pulitzer Prizes for team coverage in the news, and individually he received a Pulitzer nomination for his photography at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Rapping has taught and developed classes across the Brooks Institute Visual Journalism curriculum, including International Documentary, Portraiture, Sports Photography, Picture Story, and Advanced Lighting. He currently teaches photography and shoots freelance for editorial and commercial clients. Rapping continues to tell life’s stories, using his camera to portray the profound relationships between people and their environments.

Visit his website at

One year we were both in Nashville for a college media workshop. I was covering the event, and Anacleto was helping teach.

While Anacleto was teaching, I walked up on the stage behind him, Gary Fong, and Jim Veneman to get a nice photo of the students listening to him. Well, in seconds of me coming on stage, the entire room started to laugh and look at me.

Only as Anacleto could do it, he used his soft voice to explain how he had told everyone that he had been watching me cover the event. He said at some point, Stanley is going on the stage to get some photos from behind the speakers–so watch and see when it happens.

Then, just a minute after he said this, I came from another room and walked in and up on the stage.

This is an excellent insight into how Anacleto taught. He didn’t just tell the students here is a shot list, and you do it. He taught them not just what they needed to do to cover an event, but he also led the students through the power of observation.

Anacleto also was teaching the ability to anticipate.

When I teach a long week workshop, I Skype with a few of my friends, which helps break up the teaching and reminds the students to develop friendships with other photographers.

Anacleto was one I always loved to Skype with the classes.

One of the topics that Anacleto liked to talk about was access. To get great photos, you need access. He often talked about how credentials didn’t always work all that well. He spoke about how being kind and courteous to everyone you meet will give you excellent access.

He talked about being backstage at the Oscars and how he spoke to the guards and all the people backstage during the practices. Because he had developed those friendships, those people not only let him through because they recognized him but also alerted him to things going on that made for great photos.

Anacleto Rapping on the far left and Joanna Pinneo on the far right review a student’s portfolio at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference.

Anacleto loved to help others grow. I often watched Anacleto search out students at the workshops and ask to see their work. He knew they were probably too scared to ask and wanted to break that ice.

Now Anacleto wasn’t so kind as to make everyone feel like they were excellent photographers. Anacleto gave constructive criticism and asked many questions during those portfolio reviews.

Anacleto wasn’t one of those who only showed up at workshops if he was paid to be there. I saw Anacleto come to the Southwestern Photojournalism workshop almost yearly, except this past year when cancer returned.

Those students who showed Anacleto their work the previous year would find him to show him their progress. He was their mentor.

Anacleto loved watching others enjoying life.

Whenever I would meet up with Anacleto, he would always take a moment and change his demeanor and ask in the most caring way I know–”How are you doing?”

I once had the privilege of hiring Anacleto to shoot the Rose Bowl for Chick-fil-A. This was the first time I saw how he worked for a client. I felt comfortable with Anacleto, and he delivered beautiful images throughout the process.

I came across this poem which Anacleto seemed to have lived by.

Life is an echo.

What you send out,
comes back.

What you sow,
you reap.

What you give,
you get.

What you see in others,
exists in you.