Goodby, Silverstein & Partners suffered a blow to its creative soul with the passing of Claude Shade, who died after a short-lived battle with cancer last night at the age of 62.
Mr. Shade, who joined the agency nearly 20 years ago in 1997, was a polymathic figure whose talents couldn't be squeezed into a traditional title. He toggled between the role of photographer, art director and daredevil -- known for taking all kinds of creative risks.
"We always had a hard time giving him a title because he was a five-tool artist," said Goodby Silverstein Co-Founder Jeff Goodby. "He knew all about the history of art, but at same time was a self-taught digital guy, self-taught photographer and great designer and a creative spirit. I gave him a title 'The Coyote,' taken from the Navajo folklore. It's a character who was always trying things and getting in trouble. That nickname was on his business card. He represented a willingness to try things and overstep his abilities and see if he could do it, learn fast and try to make it happen. He never said no to anything. When he passed, there were 11,647 jobs still open that he had been working on."
Among his many pursuits, Mr. Shade was the shop's resident photographer. His images over the years have adorned campaigns for Adobe, Sprint, Doritos, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. His photographs frequently graced the pages of Creativity and Ad Age, and even when he was shooting portraits of his colleagues, he was known for imparting those with a seductive, sometimes otherworldly flair, such as this 2009 Creativity cover featuring former producer Maggie O'Brien.