Legendary Jazz Photographer Paul Hoeffler Passed Away

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By Len Dobbin

Toronto based Hoeffler was cherished by musicians and photographers alike, capturing the definitive personalities of Jazz with uncompromising style and artistry. He approached his work like the musicians he revered, blending rigorous discipline with inspired improvisation and sensitivity. As a young photographer in Rochester New York, Hoeffler put himself in the right place at the right time. He won the trust and friendship of his subjects, recognizing the richness of Jazz at a seminal and fleeting moment. He leaves us with the sometimes sole record of persons, places and events that made up the art form of Jazz.

Born in 1937, Hoeffler mentored under photographer Minor White, and by 1959 graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with both a BFA in photography, and a tome of instantly recognizable images of Jazz phenoms of the day. Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Oscar Peterson were among the many musical giants captured by Hoeffler's camera. The great and brooding conductor Leopold Stokowski was a favorite Hoeffler subject and friend, once inviting Hoeffler to sit with (and photograph) The American Symphony Orchestra during a performance; a near absurd honor, affectionately awarded to Hoeffler for his blunt charm and diligence.

Hoeffler influenced a generation of photographers, teaching at Parson's School of Design (N.Y.), Humber College, and Ryerson University in Toronto. He has been exhibited in galleries in London England, Montreal, and Toronto's Stephen Bulger Gallery, his photos appearing on Jazz record labels such as Blue Note and Verve, and in the landmark PBS mini-series 'Ken Burns Jazz', which relied heavily on Hoeffler's stable of images.

Frame by classic frame, Paul Hoeffler's photographs have helped shape our collective view of the Jazz musician as sophisticated artist. In turn, Hoeffler has guaranteed a place for himself as an artist of the highest order. Paul Hoeffler leaves us, but we remain with his work. Having seen the jazz world through his eyes, we celebrate his vision, and the widening ripples of its impact.

Paul Hoeffler is survived by his wife Claire and their son Bret. To receive a press kit, print resolution photographs, or to learn more about Paul Hoeffler and his work, please contact Randy Cole at 514-836-2613, or visit www.intofoc.us, or www.ctsimages.com

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