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RIP Arthur Thill – Sports Photographer and ATP Images founder dies aged 74

Arthur Thill pictured very recently by an unidentified colleague during the coverage of a football game Picture released by ATP Agency and the family of Arthur Thill
Arthur Thill in the press pack doing what he loved best – at work in the 1990’s covering the Olympic Games © ATP/Unbekannt

Sad news reached the PAN office yesterday evening reporting the death of Arthur Thill the photographer and ATP Images founder. Arthur and I spoke very occasionally but when we did his enthusiasm for everything about the industry was just great. I will miss him.

• ATP Images Co. was founded by Arthur Thill in 1983 in Munich, Germany. After years of experience in providing photo services to a wide variety of news agencies, Arthur, in partnership with Amin Mohammad Jamali, started a new chapter in the history of the company in 2019, launching the ATPImages website with the aim of offering a broader range of services. Serving all types of media, ATP Images provides digital photo coverage of global and international events, including sports events, film festivals, and entertainment events, to name but a few. ATP offers images from staff and contributing photographers, working with a host of regular contracted professional event photographers based all over the world. Since 1976, ATP has covered and archived a total of 18 Olympic Games.

Arthur’s son Jean-Pierre Thill sent PAN the news along with this obituary by photographer Jean Claude Ernst: (*scroll down for the French and German version).

Arthur Thill 1950-2024, Photojournalist and Founder of the ATP photo agency

Arthur Thill, the longest-serving active Luxembourg photojournalist and the only Luxembourger to have ever received a prestigious World Press Photo Award (1995) for his dramatic photo series of Jos Verstappen’ s Formula 1 Benetton Ford burning in the pit lane at the 1994 German Grand Prix. Arthur died unexpectedly last Saturday evening, April 20, 2024, at the age of 74, as a result of a cardiac arrest, as the grieving family and his agency ATP have now announced.

His parents Alphonse and Joséphine Thill-Hastert from Bereldange, a suburb of the capital Luxembourg, would never have suspected that their Arthur, who was born on February 23, 1950 in the capital Luxembourg and already I action in the 1960s with his father’s camera around the football field of the FC Avenir Beggen would one day become a living icon of modern photojournalism.

The young Arthur Thill was drawn abroad at a young age and completed his master’s degree in photography in Munich. Since then, Arthur has been constantly on the move in search of extraordinary and perfect images, tirelessly juggling his cameras and lenses, apertures and thousandths of a second to create photo compositions of a special kind, becoming a true citizen of the world and making his Luxembourg, always loyal to the country and its Crown, a big name in the world.

Irresistibly drawn to sporting competitions of all kinds, Arthur Thill documented the athletes’ performances with a passion, commitment and accuracy that bordered on an obsession with perfection, with the result that sports no longer had any secrets for him and that his photos were published by the media around the world. This contributed significantly to the of the ATP press agency he founded.

Arthur Thill, always in action, tirelessly pursued his creative paths by covering the prestigious Olympic Games in both summer and winter without exception, from his “first” Winter Olympics in Innsbruck in 1976… until one field inspection held just a few weeks ago ahead of the Olympic sites in Paris to prepare the work for “his” ATP team for the next Olympic Games in Paris… It was always a matter of honor for Arthur Thill to put the Luxembourg athletes who took part in the Olympic Games in the right light.

It was an exceptional honor for him to welcome His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg to his extraordinary exhibition “Visions of Sport” in the Tunnel Gallery of the BCEE Bank on April 9, 2019, an event attended by his mother Mrs Josephine Thill and his wife Mrs Ranka Thill along at Arthur’s side with great pride. Arthur devoted himself to the well-being of his mother, who was over 100 years old, with a rare exemplary attitude and ensured that he was always able to be with her regularly for longer periods of time.

Almost 14 days ago we were working together on a future project until late in the evening. Arthur seemed as usual, nothing foreshadowed his death.

Photojournalism has lost, far beyond the borders of Luxembourg, an invaluable and always cheerful colleague, an advisor, a true and rare friend, as evidenced by the numerous signs of sympathy and gratitude, the tributes and testimonies received from all four corners of the world which are of invaluable comfort to his wife Mrs Ranka Thill and his son Mr Jean-Pierre Thill during this difficult time.

Jean-Pierre Thill will take up the torch of the ATP agency and ensure its continuity in order to carry on the legacy of his father.

Arthur, we, to whom you have taught many things, who have been lucky enough to cross and share your professional and private paths, we will forever be indebted to you in gratitude and recognition. We will try to fill this immeasurable gap that you leave us in a professional manner in order to pay you the best possible tribute that you would have wished for at the moment when you enter eternity with the same speed, passion and boldness with which you have made athletes and personalities immortal forever with your photos.
Jean Claude Ernst

Watch an interview with Arthur at the Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present JULY 15, 2016–JANUARY 8, 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum.

* Click through the pages below for Jean-Claude Ernst full obituary in German and French.

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