Timothy Marcus Christmas, a fashion photographer who worked in downtown Baltimore and was active in his church, died of leukemia on Oct. 20 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Reservoir Hill resident was 43.
Born in Columbia, he was the son of Bettye Christmas-Murray, a retired Maryland State Department of Education teacher, and Daniel Murray, a retired Baltimore City Schools administrator. As a child he lived in Columbia and later relocated to the Coldsteam-Homestead-Montebello section of Northeast Baltimore.
“As a child he had a love for art and drew Bible characters based on the Hanna-Barbera Bible story book," said his mother. “He drew pictures of Noah and David as I read him their stories."
He was a 1995 graduate of Lake Clifton Eastern High School. He was on the school’s swimming team and ran track and field.
He earned a degree in political science at Morgan State University, and later studied photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
He opened a photography studio on Mulberry Street in downtown Baltimore and developed a following among fashion models and brides who wanted their weddings documented. He also regularly attended New York City Fashion Week events and took numerous photos for his clients.
Mr. Christmas lived in Reservoir Hill on Cloverdale Road. His apartment overlooked the fountain in Druid Hill Lake.
Friends recalled Mr. Christmas’ ability to speak on local, national and global issues.
“There is simply no remembering Timothy without mentioning his love of politics and MSNBC,” said his sister, Tamar Gladden. “He consumed amounts of news and information. He had the ability to have a conversation with you about almost anything.”
His father, Daniel Murray, said, "He voted Democrat, but he loved politics and talking about them. He had a positive outlook and loved to laugh and joke. He also loved telling stories and was warm and sociable. "
Mr. Christmas maintained a website of his art and had an exhibition at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center on Howard Street. He also took numerous photographs of President Barack Obama on the campaign trail. A fan of singer Anita Baker, he appeared at her performances and often photographed her.
He maintained a library of photography books and studied the work of David LaChapelle, Gordon Parks and Richard Avedon.
“Those books were his mentors,” said Ms. Gladden.
He also had an interest in artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. He traveled throughout Spain, Mexico and Jamaica on photography tours.
Ms. Gladden also recalled that he frequently wore a T-shirt, often from J.Crew, a pair of jeans and Converse shoes.
Ms. Gladden recalled him saying, "Converses aren’t actually all that comfortable for most people.” She said she then gave him a quizzical look. "How come those are the only shoes you wear? And to which he’d give you a slight shrug with his signature smile, ‘But of course, with insoles.’”
His sister also said, "He often put others before himself. If you were a friend of his, you became quickly aware that he made friends with people from every walk of life and he wanted you to see the best in them just the way he did.
“When Timothy found out about his diagnosis of leukemia eight years ago, he took it in stride and started a battle that proved him to be one of the strongest persons most of us know,” said Ms. Gladden. “As his prognosis worsened, he was more concerned about how you would take it.”
Mr. Christmas was a member of the Philadelphia Church of Christ and was the church’s photographer. He took photographs of baptisms and church conferences and church trips throughout the country.
In addition to his parents and sister, survivors include two other sisters, Sheryl Evans of Harford County and Dr. Temisha Evans of College Park.
A funeral will be held at noon Thursday at the March West Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave.