"I am not an artist. I am an image maker."

- Thomas Hoepker

b. 1936

d. 2024


Based in New York, USA


Thomas Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany, in 1936. He studied art, history and archaeology, but his real fascination was photography. His grandfather gave him an old plate camera for his fourteenth birthday, which inspired him to experiment with photography. In 1960, before he could finish his studies, he was hired by Münchner Illustrierte magazine. He went on to work at Kristall until 1963, then joined Stern magazine in 1964.

That same year, Hoepker was invited to join Magnum Photos, which then started to distribute his archive photographs. In 1989, he became a full member. He went on to become the president of Magnum between 2003 and 2006.

Hoepker and his former wife, Eva Windmöller, lived in East Berlin, where they worked as Stern’s first accredited correspondents. In 1976, they moved to New York, where Hoepker spent most of his time. As well as working as an art director for the American edition of Geo, between 1987 and 1989 Hoepker worked at Stern in Hamburg.

Over the course of many years, Hoepker has exhibited his work all over the world. Additionally, he has received various awards for his photographic and TV, film and documentary work. Dear Memories, his 2022 documentary released in cinemas, explores Hoepker’s life and work. In the same year, he published, The Way It Was.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Hoepker and Christine Kruchen, his third wife, began going back to his very first black-and-white film negative files and scanning what they found. One of their discoveries was a series of 10,000 negatives showing a photographic study of life in Italy in the late 1950s — his very first images as a photographer. Italia, a selection of these images was published in 2023 by Buchkunst Berlin.

Thomas Hoepker passed away on July 10, 2024, in Santiago, Chile. He was 88.

Selected works


Champ: Muhammad Ali

Thomas Hoepker

Thomas Heopker's iconic photos of the world's great boxer Muhammad Ali capture both the man and the myth

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