With simple humility, Thomas Hoepker has always seen himself as nothing more than an assignment photographer, someone interested in nothing less than the truth, in the honesty of the moment. He was 14 when he made his first efforts using a glass plate camera. In 1959 he started working for magazines and annuals, travelling throughout the USA for a number of months on assignment for Kristall, and producing Champ in 1966, his legendary reportage about Muhammad Ali. In 1964 he started working full time for Stern, impacting its overall look first as a photographer and later as art director at the end of the eighties. With his precise composition, tight visual statements, and refined imagery, Hoepker has defined German photojournalism like few others. He moved to New York in 1976, where he became the first German member of the Magnum Agency in 1989. His pictures are engaged, unadorned and committed to the truth, yet they are never voyeuristic or offensive. He did not take shocking pictures, but captured quiet, everyday dramas. Calm, subtle and free of sensationalism, they became icons of ‘concerned photography’. Consequently, Hoepker is still considered one of the greatest representatives of engaged, humanistic photojournalism.
Thomas Hoepker was born in Munich in 1936. His studied archaeology and art history. As a photographer, he was most influential with Geo and Stern. He became a full member of Magnum in 1989, presiding over the institution from 2003 to 2007. Hoepker lives in New York and Berlin.