Like many artists, Kurt Bownell has to balance the commercial with the personal.
The Victor resident is a commercial photographer with a Rochester studio and a client list that includes such corporations as Wegmans, Constellation Brands, Democrat and Chronicle, Unity Health and several universities. The clients commission Brownell for everything from beauty shots of growers, produce and culinary arts to corporate executives in their workplace environments.
His day job keeps him so busy that his personal photographic love – outdoor landscapes – often happens on the fly, such as when he snapped shots of the rolling hills of Cohocton on a pit stop as his family returned from a vacation.
Perhaps that’s why Brownell’s new exhibit at Keuka College, “Up Close and Far Away-Landscapes,” is such a treat for him. The exhibit runs through Jan. 4, with an artist reception Thursday, Nov. 29 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at Lightner Gallery inside Lightner Library. The exhibit is open to the public; library hours vary and can be found online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.
“This is what I like to do when I’m not being told what to photograph,” he said. “This is what I gravitate toward naturally. I can go without any agenda and shoot what I feel, what I like, what I find.”
Many of his images, which he refers to as “interpretive landscapes,” are “stitched” composites of 10-20 different shots, melded together to create one final, full panorama for the viewer.
An avid photographer, Fred Hoyle’s images have graced at least six Keuka magazine covers, numerous inside features, plus countless flyers, brochures and web site pages promoting the people and programs of the College where he worked since 2005.
But the image of the man himself – passionate about students, the College mission and diverse recreational pursuits – has come into sharp focus in the short time since his passing. Hoyle, associate vice president for admissions at Keuka, lost his 11-month battle against melanoma Oct. 26 at the age of 47.
While his death left the College in mourning, his life and heart have inspired many in the campus community and beyond to celebrate his dedicated service and passionate spirit.
With both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology, Hoyle’s expertise and verve in the areas of photography, information technology, telecommunications and interactive media commanded attention when he first interviewed for the web coordinator position at Keuka in 2005. Handwritten notes jotted on his resume indicate he was the first candidate to mention a different look and “read” necessary for web marketing. Indeed, the interweaving of branding, imaging and marketing was Hoyle’s specialty.
Making his mark as webmaster, he soon progressed to associate dean of admissions and marketing, then dean, and in 2010 became associate vice president for admissions. He led a team of nearly a dozen admissions counselors and staff in recruiting and welcoming each year’s freshman class.
“Fred was one of the smartest hires I ever made,” said COO/Executive Vice President Carolanne Marquis. “He exemplified exactly what Keuka College was about. He knew how to lead a team, how to handle the Admissions process in a way that fit the mission of our College. He was adored by every constituent on this campus.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Weed said Hoyle “brought tremendous wisdom, compassion, and dedication to his work with Keuka’s students – and took genuine pride in their success.”
Chris Austin, a 2008 graduate, conducted a Field Period, the 140-hour yearly internship that is a cornerstone of every Keuka degree, under Hoyle in 2007 and recalled Hoyle’s excitement about the potential of social media to engage prospective students. While Austin discovered that Facebook rules then prevented organizations from hosting their own pages, Hoyle never let go of the idea, Austin said. Today, Keuka boasts multiple Facebook pages, including ones for special admissions subgroups, such as incoming student classes, where Hoyle often commented and interacted with students himself.
“I will remember Fred as a visionary,” said Austin. “Under his leadership, the reach of the Keuka College marketing initiatives increased its geographic territory which no doubt has helped Keuka grow. Keuka College has lost a profound leader that helped make [it] what it is today.”
In a written commentary, Joseph Burke, president emeritus of Keuka, said Hoyle embodied the Keuka spirit, even encouraging Burke to stay focused on the students when Burke would phone Hoyle at home during recovery from treatments.
“He was the epitome of a true Keukonian. He was passionate about everything,” Burke said, naming the quality of the school’s educational program, its mission and student welfare as just a few examples. “Fred mixed his passion with an uncanny ability to inspire the very best in those around him.”
Hoyle was especially devoted to students, and relished helping them, recommending scholarships and hearing their stories, said Keuka Webmaster Pete Bekisz, who worked under Hoyle for five years.
“When he’d talk to families, Fred made them feel like the most important people in the world. That’s something not a lot of people know how to do,” Bekisz said. Referencing the numerous student memories shared online, as well as on posters placed in the campus dining hall, he added: “There’s a lot of students who would say that what [Fred] might have considered a small conversation really changed their life, and that’s just the kind of person that he was.”
Other passions of Hoyle’s included car racing – particularly at nearby Watkins Glen – and competitive cycling. Hoyle finished fifth in the 55-mile master’s division (ages 35-44) cycling race in the 2006 Empire State Games, hosted in the Rochester region. He later bested that with a bronze medal finish in the 2008 Games. For pleasure, Hoyle often cycled the 40-mile round trip between his Middlesex home and campus.
Fine wines – particularly French ones – and gourmet foods were another pursuit. Hoyle’s recipes, photography and travel adventures with his wife, Pam, would often be featured on his blog, www.afoodexperience.net.
On campus, Hoyle started a unique marketing initiative: a summer barbecue for prospective students and their high school counselors where Hoyle himself would grill the hamburgers and hots.
“He was a fantastic chef. He made some of the best-tasting things I’d ever had, and there wasn’t a food dilemma he couldn’t fix,” recalled Bekisz, who shared Hoyle’s culinary interests. “He had specific, quirky interests with food. He’d travel miles on end for a good cut of beef.”
He also enjoyed bird-watching, animals, jazz music and what Hoyle called the technological “art” of Apple products, Bekisz recalled.
Residence directors Tim White and Eugene Mont named Hoyle an executive producer in their campus film, The Curse of Ball Hall, which will debut at the College Halloween night. White described how Hoyle went out of his way to support the project, lending the two a video camera to film scenes and suggesting a variety of marketing strategies to pique interest from the student body.
“He was excited from the word ‘Go,’ – and [shared] how we could tailor it into an Admissions piece to recruit and retain students,” White said, adding that he and Mont are now dedicating the film to Hoyle’s memory.
“Fred’s enthusiasm was contagious, whether it be about cycling, food, wine or photography,” said Lynn Lannon, a 1969 Keuka graduate and member of the Board of Trustees. “And then there was his enthusiasm for and commitment to Keuka. He was an amazing ambassador, committed and passionate … We have lost a wonderful human being, a wonderful Keukonian.”
Condolences from students, former colleagues, and countless friends have poured into the College from all corners for Hoyle and a scholarship has been established in his honor. Contributions to the Fred L. Hoyle Endowed Scholarship for incoming Keuka College students may be directed to: the Division of College Advancement, Keuka College, P.O. Box 98, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478.
Calling hours for Fred Hoyle will be held Sunday, Oct. 30,
from 2 to 6 p.m. at:
A memorial service for Fred will be held Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. in Norton Chapel. A reception will follow in Lightner Library.
Messages of sympathy may be sent to:
Mrs. Pam Hoyle
996 Old Vineyard Road
Middlesex, N.Y. 14507
We invite you to share your memories of Fred and condolences for his family by leaving a comment below.