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'There Was Only One Paul Buff' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

24 March 2015

We learned today that Paul Conrad Buff passed away March 14 at the age of 78. His decision "to create Professional Mono lights unlike what was out there already," in his wife's words, led to the invention of Alien Bees, White Lightning and Einsteins. And a company revered for its customer service.

The company he founded in Nashville, announced his passing:

With great sadness we announce that our founder, Paul C. Buff, passed away this week at the age of 78. He has been living with his beloved wife of 16 years, Deborah, and their extended family in their secondary home in Mobile, Alabama for over a year and passed away in this home with his family around him. Those of us who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Paul have lost an invaluable mentor, an inspiring leader and a treasured friend. The world has lost one of its most creative and adventurous pioneers.

We revisited two reviews of his equipment by prominent figures in the online photography world that show how much his work was appreciated:

  • In Pint-Sized Power to Go: Paul Buff Hits One Out of the Park, Strobist David Hobby praised his Vagabond lithium battery pack in 2011 as "the battery I want to marry."
  • Rob Gailbraith praised his Einstein 640 monolight in 2010 as "the first monolight to deliver both class leading color temperature consistency and superior action stopping capability, one that also incorporates precise modeling light tracking, worldwide power compatibility and optional remote control of flash settings, all for under $500 in the U.S."

And today the Web is salted with many appreciations of the man and his work. His Guest Book contains over 35 pages of entries at the moment.

Our headline comes from his obituary, written by his wife, in which she remembers his first career in the music business:

Paul started his own music recording business call PAL in Cucamonga, Calif. in the '60s. He recorded many people. He learned as he went and most of that time during sessions ... he wouldn't even charge them.

He sold that recording studio to his friend Frank Zappa so he could move to Tennessee where he started the monobloc business in his home that would change the industry.

Some guys can just carry a tune.

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