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(Photo courtesy of Bonni Benrubi Gallery)

Last Thursday, gallerist Bonni Benrubi passed away after a long battle with cancer. A pioneer in the New York photo community, Benrubi was committed to exclusively showing photography for the past 25 years. A champion of many young artists’ work, she fostered the careers of numerous photographers who have appeared in the pages of TIME, including Gillian Laub.

“When Bonni took me on as an artist, I was so young, just out of school,” says Laub, who has been represented by the gallery since she was 24. “It was such an honor and so encouraging to have someone like her have such belief in my work. Bonni was one of the strongest people I knew. She was an inspiration to me as a woman and human being — so passionate about both her work and family.”

And Laub says she’ll also remember the advice that Benrubi gave her: “Keep doing the work that is close to your heart and moves you emotionally. It may not be trendy, but humanity doesn’t need to follow trends.”

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