- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006

Paris L. Gray, 44, news photographer

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — Paris L. Gray, a photographer for the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill known for his easygoing manner, sensitive coverage of emotional events and maniacal driving to get to where the news was, died of cancer Oct. 15. He was 44.

The Baltimore native photographed the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year and shot many of the biggest stories in southern New Jersey during his 12 years at the Courier-Post.

Pictures of funerals became a specialty for Mr. Gray.

“He just loved taking pictures,” Ron Karafin, the newspaper’s photo director, said for an obituary in the Courier-Post. “He could handle very emotional photo situations. … He became part of the camera, and he could look through the camera and capture those things without it affecting him at that moment.”

Some of his most poignant pictures were taken last year during a high-profile search for three boys who went missing in Camden, only to be found dead two days later in the trunk of a car.

In 1994, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a picture from the funeral of Victoria Hoffman, a woman who drowned after accidentally driving into a lake.

Before coming to the Courier-Post, Mr. Gray worked at the Afro-American newspaper in Baltimore and the Philadelphia Tribune.

For a time, he had a studio where he took photographs for art exhibits.

He was diagnosed with gastric and colon cancer earlier this year, and his health declined rapidly.

Away from the newsroom, Mr. Gray was a jazz guitarist and bicyclist who taught early-morning spinning classes at a gym.

The Deptford resident is survived by his wife, Gigi House-Gray, and his stepson, Marcus House.

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