Jay Kay Klein, who spent his final days in hospice care with terminal oesophegeal cancer, died May 13 reports John Hertz. Jay Kay was 80 years old.
Jay Kay and his camera documented decades of fanhistory. His four photo-filled Worldcon Memory Books (1960, 1962, 1963, 1966), are nostalgic monuments to an era most of us missed.
He was Fan Guest of Honor at Discon II, the 1974 Worldcon. He received the Big Heart Award in 1990, and just last year he was enshrined in the First Fandom Hall of Fame. Pros appreciated his work, too – he was awarded a SFWA Presidential Plaque for Extraordinary Photographs.
Jay Kay entered fandom in 1945, at a Philadelphia SF Society meeting. Within two years he also joined the Queens Science Fiction League Chapter in Astoria, Long Island, and the Eastern Science Fiction Assn. (ESFA) in Newark. Much later he was part of two failed Syracuse Worldcon bids in the 1960s.
From 1977 to 2005 he wrote and supplied photos for the “Biolog” feature in Analog.
As time went by Jay Kay showed considerable sensitivity to ways in which he felt overlooked. Sometimes he passed it off with humor. When MagiCon (1992) insisted fans show photo ID’s to register, Jay Kay claimed to have satisfied the requirement with an old photo from his portfolio showing himself on a con panel beside Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. But another time I found it easy to agree that it seemed unappreciative when staffers at a Worldcon tried to discourage him from roaming in front of the stage to take photos during major events. After all, he had made himself legendary taking photos in situations like that.
P. S. Trivia question: A photo of Jay Kay Klein is included in the “Fan Gallery,” a traveling exhibit displayed at Worldcons. Guess what former Worldcon chair was the photographer? (Not me.) The answer is at the bottom of this webpage.