William Claxton, 1928-2008


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Word has just come in that William Claxton died on Saturday in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. He was eighty. With his pictures of Chet Baker in the early 1950s, Claxton established himself as a brilliant photographer of jazz musicians and went on to a career as one of the most admired camera artists in the world. He did incomparable work not only in jazz, but also with a varied array of personalities including Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Igor Stravinsky, Fred Astaire, Joan Baez, Steve McQueen, Chris Rock and Benicio Del Toro.

Clax was a friend, a colleague, good company and -- in a category that seems sparsely populated in our hard, fast world -- a gentleman, meaning that he was kind, polite, honorable and unfailingly considerate.

 To see some of Bill Claxton's work go here. Obituaries are just beginning to show up on the internet. Here is an early one from the Associated Press.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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