Portrait photographer Cam Sanders, long an Outer Cape part-time resident, died peacefully on May 6, 2022 at his home in Los Angeles after several years living with cancer. He was 56.
The son of Cameron H. and Betsy Sanders, Cam was born on June 23, 1965, in Cincinnati. His early years as a Foreign Service child were peripatetic, as his father’s postings moved the family between the Middle East, Europe, and Washington, D.C.
Cam graduated from St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Concord, N.H. in 1983 and from Yale University in 1988. He later studied photography at Santa Monica College.
After graduating from Yale, Cam flirted with becoming an actor. He was, his sister Marcia said, “a theater dude who worked as a waiter in New York City while trying to land acting gigs. Like most actors,” Marcia added, “he did more waitering than acting.”
For a brief time, Cam worked as a photojournalist for a small newspaper in rural Pennsylvania, but finding the condition of the paper and the nature of its coverage depressing, he focused his energies on photography. From 2009 he worked as a portrait photographer in Los Angeles.
In a tribute written for All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., the conductor and composer Zanaida Stewart Robles wrote: “Cam’s work was legendary. Many of us will always remember how sweet and funny and utterly lovable he was.”
His parents began spending their summers in Wellfleet, escaping the heat and humidity of Washington, when Cam was five. Cam returned to the Outer Cape every summer as an adult.
He loved Provincetown, especially. He worked in restaurants as a young man and enjoyed the theater scene even as his dreams of acting faded. In the 1980s, he and his sister sold snacks at intermission of The Mousetrap at the original Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater when it was still in the Catholic church on Main Street.
Cam loved sailing in Wellfleet Harbor and photographing the ever-changing Outer Cape land and seascape.
He approached life with enthusiasm and commitment. He was a member of All Saints Church-Pasadena and a dedicated baritone in its Canterbury Choir. He also was a passionate amateur actor, tap dancer, master swimmer, pianist, writer, cutthroat Scrabble player, champion of crosswords, and dog adopter.
He will be best remembered as a true friend, a people magnet who leaves a multifaceted beloved community.
He is survived by his father, Cameron H. Sanders Jr. of Washington, D.C. and Wellfleet; siblings Helen Gray and husband Julian of London, Marcia Loughran and husband David of Queens, N.Y., and Nick Sanders of Sebastopol, Calif.; extended family members Erika Erzberger and Kim Bender of Sebastopol; nieces and nephews Jamie, Katherine, Emily, Jojo, Ben, Lillian, and Simon; his cherished Staffordshire terrier, Grace; and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Cam was predeceased by his mother, Betsy Sanders, of Washington, D.C. and Wellfleet.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to All Saints Church of Pasadena, the United Farm Workers Union, or Amnesty International.
To honor Cam’s life, family members suggest that friends sing, dance, swim, surf, photograph, reflect, read, meditate, play the piano, garden, bring home flowers, adopt a pet, drink good coffee, cook, and eat together. To be a great godparent and uncle or aunt and read Tennessee Williams while acting out all the parts would also be a fitting tribute.