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article imageObituary of a Digital Journalist: RIP R.C. Camphausen 1948-2013 Special

By David Silverberg     Jun 11, 2013 in Internet
Author. Photographer. Traveler. Avid reader. Feminist. Those are some of the many words to describe R.C. Camphausen, a long-time Digital Journalist who died suddenly May 20 at 65. This is his story.
The Digital Journal community was shocked last month to learn about the sudden passing of a respected contributor, R.C (Rufus) Camphausen. Struck by a heart attack, Rufus died in his home in a village in northern Netherlands.
It would be remiss of Digital Journal not to recount his life and career, and we were also honoured to talk to his wife Christina about what made Rufus so well-loved.
A member of Digital Journal for four years and the author of more than 320 articles, Camphausen wasn't shy about showing the world why he loved news. In the beginning of his Digital Journal tenure, politics fascinated him as much as photography tech, hinting at the photo essays readers would soon enjoy. When he returned to Digital Journal after a hiatus, he published compelling photo essays from his travels, such as this Bangkok pictorial.
Christina shares some insight into what drew him to online media: "RC was a deeply curious person and a born communicator," she says. "He loved journalism, and especially broad platforms like DJ, to get an idea, opinion, or story across."
The late R.C. Camphausen  near his old Crete home  saying hi to his friends  dogs
The late R.C. Camphausen, near his old Crete home, saying hi to his friends' dogs
Via Christina Camphausen
His love of words started early in his life when he was educated to be a bookshop keeper in his native Germany. For the rest of his life, he was a self-educated man, "studying the religious and sociosexual mores of cultures throughout the world for more than 35 years," as Christina recalls.
She also says Rufus loved seeing the world beyond Dusseldorf. With an ex-girlfriend he hitchhiked to India. He ended up in Amsterdam in the 1980s, where he met Christina during his time running a bookstore full of spiritual tomes. They married in 1991.
"He was a special man, not like the others," says Christina. "He didn't follow rules, and he reminded me of a flower power hippie guy. I liked that."
Most notably, Christina noticed Rufus had a profound respect for women. He often called himself a feminist, and wrote one of many books about female sexuality. He self-published The Yoni: Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power, which traces this symbol "in Australian Aboriginal folk tales, in alchemy, in Tantric practices, and in contemporary art by painters such as Georgia O'Keefe and Judy Chicago."
A tantric practitioner, Rufus also wrote "The Encyclopedia of Erotic Wisdom" and "The Encyclopedia of Sacred Sexuality."
Christina notes many of his books, and articles, were heavily illustrated with his own photography. "This could be city-beauties, but just as well humans, flowers, cats, objects, rituals, rarities, whatever. In his thinking the power of the word and the power of the image were on equal footing and always strengthening each other," she adds.
The late R.C. Camphausen  near his old Crete home
The late R.C. Camphausen, near his old Crete home
Via Christina Camphausen
After marrying, Rufus and Christina lived in Amsterdam before moving to the island of Crete for five years, but then returned to the Netherlands. Rufus spent time writing books, reading news from across the world and focusing on his own website True Lies News. Christina remembers Rufus being particularly passionate about this project, letting him channel his love of news into a compendium of the latest headlines.
They didn't have any children.
This year, when he returned to Digital Journal, Rufus would call up the news network first thing in the morning, along with BBC News, Christina says. When it comes to what he enjoyed about Digital Journal, Rufus loved engaging in intelligent conversations with other writers and commenters, Christina remembers.
"He enjoyed life, he was relaxed," she says.
So what will Christina miss most about Rufus? "His love," she says simply. "And how he was never scared of death."
From everyone at Digital Journal, we'd like to extend our condolences to Rufus's family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
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