In recognition of the nation’s Golden Jubilee, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) has launched a photographic display at its office at 58A Half-Way Tree Road, highlighting the works of pioneers who have chronicled the country’s history, through their lenses.
The display features the technology that has been used since the 1960s as well as some outstanding images that have been captured over the years, and the craftsmen behind the cameras.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JIS, Mrs. Donna-Marie Rowe, said the JIS is a treasure-trove for the nation’s State events. "We have already been receiving commendation from our clients on the quality of the display, which showcases the developments in photography over the years and some priceless images,” she said.
"The display also pays tribute to our photographers,” she noted, adding that the JIS boasts some of the country’s finest photographers. This display is also in their honour for having served the agency and by extension, the nation.
Speaking about the advances in technology over the 50 years, Conceptualiser and Supervisor of the Photo Department, Dave Reid said: “One can appreciate how difficult it would have been for photographers to capture quality imgages with the bulkier equipment at the time."
He noted for instance, that for one of the aerial shots on display, the photographer would have been leaning from a helicopter with a 15-pound camera.
Mr. Reid pointed out that before the advent of digital photography and memory cards, photographers did not have computers or the software to edit photographs, therefore they had to be “on point” by paying keen attention to key details, such as lighting and timing to capture the perfect shot.
In addition, he noted that developing the film to print a photograph was also a tedious, intricate process, which involved adding the right mixture of chemicals, the washing process, and developing the film under the correct exposure to light.
Adding that the display complemented the commemorative JIS Photo Album, which features some of outstanding work of the photographers over the years, Mr. Reid said: “This is why it is important that the work of predecessors, such as Dennis Richardson, Errol Harvey and Arthur Smith who set the foundation for photographic excellence at the JIS, be fully recognised and appreciated."
A visitor to the JIS, Information Technology (IT) Consultant, Dainsworth Richards, who described himself as a “photography buff,” said the display was very revealing, as he had never seen some of the equipment up close, only in magazines.
“It was quite a treat to see some of the older equipment,” he gushed, “…quite fascinating just to trace through the history…and the progress of the technology behind photography."
The Photography Department, which is currently staffed by six photographers, a library assistant and photo librarian, has been capturing and archiving all major historical events from the 1960s.
As an Executive Agency, the JIS provides photography services to the Government, as well to the public on special request, at a cost. The photo archives include images of the annual investiture ceremony, swearing-in ceremonies and the State Opening of Parliament among other events, which chronicle the history of the nation.