“His true love was track and field. His heart and soul were tied to track and you saw it in his pictures. Again, that agility of mind ever to the fore. I remember his first Olympics, Athens 2004. He was alone. No reporter. His photographs not just on the track but in the athletes village on walkabouts etc, counted a thousand words and more. We persuaded Cummings to write short pieces, which I edited, portraying happenings as he saw them from behind his camera. Cummings wrote wonderful pieces providing insights that took you by surprise. Again, that agility of mind
Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange; legendary sprinter Usain Bolt; and senior Jamaica Observer journalist Garfield Myers have expressed sadness at the death of Jamaica Observer Photo Editor Bryan Cummings and labelled him, among other things, as an outstanding professional who took his job seriously. Cummings died Friday evening after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 56.
“Sincere condolence to the family, friends and colleagues of one of Jamaica‘s best and most decorated photojournalists Bryan Cummings. He captured some of the most memorable moments in Jamaica‘s development for more than 25 years. His work will serve as a legacy for generations,” Prime Minister Holness posted on Twitter .
Grange, in her tribute, described Cummings as “a truly outstanding photographer”.
“Bryan was blessed with that eye that all great photographers possess. His enduring legacy will be his work in sport where, through his photographs, he told the story of a glorious period in Jamaica sport, particularly track and field.
“He was a well respected photographer and editor, a kind and personable man, and I want us to hold up his family and friends in our prayers at this time,” the minister stated.
Bolt, whose entire career was covered by Cummings, posted on Twitter : “RIP #BRYANCUMMINGS sincere condolence to your family.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith also posted on Twitter : “So sad to hear of Bryan’s passing last night. He was such a talented photographer and always supported the arts. My sympathies go out to his family. May his soul rest in peace. #BryanCummings #Movements”
Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, also paid tribute to Cummings in a Twitter post. “Bryan Cummings was a great human being. A most pleasant soul n a Munronian to the core. When he found out I went to Munro his smile expanded tenfold n every time I saw him after that the greeting was the same ‘Munronian‘ with a massive smile. Deepest condolence to his family,” Green wrote.
Myers, who shared a personal friendship with Cummings that spanned decades, spoke highly of the late photographer’s professionalism.
“Like all the outstanding news people I’ve come across, Cummings had an agility of mind that could really blindside you. I saw it when I covered cricket with him. He was never really a cricket person but he had a good understanding and appreciation. What struck me was his refusal to be straight-jacketed. So okay, he would give you the good, sharp, orthodox photos relative to batsman and bowler, but he was also an artist, revelling in the unexpected. So he would take his camera and walk around the ground, providing staggering photos from side-on, for example, which left cricket conservatives like myself struggling to catch up at times. It took time to see the logic. But there it was. Deniability impossible,” Myers said.
Myers, Jamaica Observer editor-at-large based in central Jamaica, also underlined Cummings‘ love for athletics.
“His true love was track and field. His heart and soul were tied to track and you saw it in his pictures. Again, that agility of mind ever to the fore. I remember his first Olympics, Athens 2004. He was alone. No reporter. His photographs not just on the track but in the athletes village on walkabouts etc, counted a thousand words and more. We persuaded Cummings to write short pieces, which I edited, portraying happenings as he saw them from behind his camera. Cummings wrote wonderful pieces providing insights that took you by surprise. Again, that agility of mind.
“I remember when he returned from Athens and pushed the newsroom door. Somebody shouted ‘Our star from the Olympics’ or something to that effect. Everybody on the floor stood and clapped, spontaneously. I can’t recall ever seeing anything quite like that. Cummings was brilliant,” Myers ended.
Nationwide News Network journalist Abka Fitz-Henley also paid tribute to Cummings in a tweet. “A master of his craft and a very decent human being… heart clean. Deepest condolence to his family, friends and colleagues,” Fitz-Henley wrote.
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