- The family of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) is mourning the sudden passing of beloved photographer, Michael Shaw.
- The veteran photographer is hailed by his colleagues for his professionalism and commitment to the highest standards of photography.
- Mr. Shaw had a great passion for his craft and was a mentor to the younger photographers in the Agency, who talk about him with great respect and admiration.
The family of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) is mourning the sudden passing of beloved photographer, Michael Shaw.
Mr. Shaw, a 44-year veteran of the profession, collapsed on Wednesday afternoon (September 30), hours after completing assignments involving the official visits of the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and Japan.
Supervisor of the Photography Department, Dave Reid, reports that the staff had just concluded a meeting to discuss assignments for the following day, when Mr. Shaw fell ill and became unresponsive.
Calls were made to 119, the nearest hospital and other Emergency Medical Services for assistance. Mr. Shaw was pronounced dead by the doctor who arrived on the scene.
Born on May 26, 1956, Mr. Shaw, who was 59-years old, worked at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) from 1971 to 1972 and the Gleaner Company from 1972 to 1989, before coming to the JIS from 1989 to 1993.
He worked at the Jamaica Observer for three years, from 1993 to 1996, and then joined JAMPRESS in 1996. Mr. Shaw re-joined the JIS in 2000 after the entity was merged with JAMPRESS to become an executive agency.
The veteran photographer is hailed by his colleagues for his professionalism and commitment to the highest standards of photography.
Visiting with the JIS staff on Thursday, October 1, to offer condolences and comfort, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer said: “It is a hard time for us as a family and we need to console each other. I wanted you to know that all the Ministers and I are deeply saddened. I knew him personally as a young reporter and over the years he has served the Government of Jamaica well.”
In a statement, Chairman of the JIS Advisory Board, Ms. Fae Ellington said, “I am truly saddened at the sudden passing of a team member of the JIS Photography Department. I would like to thank the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs. Donna-Marie Rowe for her lead at this very trying time for all staff members. I am praying for strength and courage for the JIS family and for Mr. Shaw’s immediate family and relatives.”
In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica, Mr. Keith Campbell said: “For those of us in production and programmes at PBCJ it has been devastating. Over the past four days we have been rubbing shoulders as we pooled our resources, human and otherwise, to cover the visits of the British and Japanese Prime Ministers. It is, indeed, very difficult to accept the fact that Michael is no longer with us. Receiving the news of his sudden passing has taken its toll on all of us at the PBCJ, even those of our staff who did not know him; understandably, because of the relationship between the JIS and the PBCJ.”
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Paul Robotham said: “Mr. Shaw worked with us on many occasions as he provided photo coverage for several of the High Commissioners and Ambassadors who regularly present their credentials to the Minister, as part of the process to represent their countries in Jamaica. My association with Mr. Shaw, however, goes back years as I recall him being a familiar face at track and field events at the National Stadium. I will certainly miss him.”
The Agency has received numerous calls from Heads of Agencies, Photographers and public sector employees expressing sympathies.
Mrs. Rowe said it was surreal as she was on the last assignment with Mr. Shaw at the Office of the Prime Minister where they shared pleasantries.
In a session with staff the morning after Mr. Shaw’s passing, Mrs. Rowe urged the team to bond together as “we mourn this loss.” She also thanked Dr. Andre McDonald who addressed the bereaved staff members. Dr. McDonald answered the emergency call to attend to Mr. Shaw when he collapsed.
The Ministry of Finance, and in particular the Public Relations Department, in a tribute said: “In all our encounters, we found him to be amiable, engaging and ever the consummate professional.”
Mr. Shaw had a great passion for his craft and was a mentor to the younger photographers in the Agency, who talk about him with great respect and admiration.
They say he knew how to “seize the moment” and preferred candid human interest photography. He was known for being persistent in capturing his desired shot, even in a sea of other photographers.
His colleagues remember him as humble, quiet, jovial and easy going. They recall that he often started a conversation by saying: “Fi tell yuh the truth …” or how he often harked back to his early days in the profession.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Curline, four sons and a daughter.