Michael Gordon hailed for professionalism, humanity

Michael Gordon hailed for professionalism, humanity

Friday, May 08, 2020

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Jamaicans continued to pay tribute yesterday to retired Jamaica Observer Photo Editor Michael Gordon who died suddenly at his St Andrew home on Wednesday afternoon.

The 67-year-old Gordon, who was a photojournalist for more than 40 years, was among the first employees of the Observer, which he served until his retirement in 2013.

Yesterday, Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica Paralympic Association President Christopher Samuda said Gordon “has placed his camera quietly on the bier, having composed many lives, in colour and black and white, in sport, culture, politics and other facets of life.

“But Michael Gordon's gallery will always inspire those of us who understood his humanity, decency, and professionalism behind the lens he carried on this earth and his gift of talent to journalism.

“His journey has not come to an end for in his legacy we have the beginning and continuity of invaluable generational lessons.

“Indeed, this is a man worthy of an 'Olympic' and 'Paralympic' salute.”

Klao Bell-Lewis, manager, communications, community outreach and media strategy at Caribbean Cement Company, expressed sorrow at Gordon's passing.

“My memory of Michael lingers on how well he cared for a neighbour, his family member, who suffered a very challenging illness,” she said, adding that her thoughts are with the Observer family at this time, especially as the company was still reconciling losing Gordon's colleague and Observer Photo Editor Bryan Cummings, who passed after a long illness on March 6, 2020.

Alison Christie Binger, communications consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank, said: “It is with a very heavy and saddened heart that I share our sincerest condolences on the passing of Michael.

“He was the consummate professional who went about his work quietly and unobtrusively. He was a joy to work with and always had a smiling and pleasing countenance. His calming spirit and reassuring presence will always be remembered. He has captured many wonderful memories for all Jamaica through his photographic works; his rich legacy continues.

“Please convey our condolences to his family and the Observer family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time of your grief, coming so soon and suddenly after the passing of Bryan Cummings, another great and outstanding photographer from the Observer family.”

Observer Human Resource Officer Debra Crossley was effusive in her praise of Gordon's handling of a photo shoot for the company's administrative professionals last year. The photo was used to mark Administrative Professionals Day.

“I remember the ladies were gathered in the boardroom and one of them was concerned that her nose was going to look big in the photo. Mr Gordon told her, don't worry about it, I will fix it. And truly, I tell you, her nose shrank!

“He was so professional. He arranged the room, made the women feel comfortable and beautiful,” Crossley said.

Throughout his career Gordon captured several portentous moments in the nation's history; among them the visits of world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, The Queen, and Barack Obama.

He also captured Ray Charles onstage at the National Arena in St Andrew, the crowning of Lisa Hanna as Miss Jamaica World in 1993; Brian Lara's iconic 375-run record in Antigua in 1994; the charred interior of the Carib cinema when it went up in flames in 1996; the doodling of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in Parliament in 2005; and the funerals of some of the country's most prominent leaders, among them prime ministers Michael Manley, Hugh Shearer, and Edward Seaga, as well as those of cultural icons Louise Bennett-Coverley, Olive Lewin, and Dennis Brown.

Gordon was appointed a member of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer in 2016 for his body of work in the field.

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