Four months after the launch of his book My 50 Years in Photography, renowned Jamaican photographer Ray Chen, in collaboration with the JN Foundation, donated 10 copies of his recent work to the library at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In a handover ceremony at the UWI, Mona, the affable Chen expressed optimism that his photographic legacy, while piquing students’ interest, might also stimulate their creative instincts to view Jamaica as a cultural melting pot and showcase its diversity in people, rituals, and places.
“For me, there is a story behind every image in the book. The past 50 years have been filled with happy memories, and it is the love of a beautiful family that allowed me to fulfil a desire to document my island home through my photography,” Chen said in his address.
Acknowledging the involve-ment of the Jamaica National Building Society, which purchased the copies for donation, Chen also credited Jamaicans in the wider society, who he regards as great contributors to the outcome of his photographic books.
“I am pleased to join with the folks at the Jamaica National Building Society and Mr Earl Jarrett to donate these copies to the library at the University of the West Indies. I also extend appreciation to the Jamaicans who have allowed me to photograph them. My 50 Years in Photography is dedicated to the people of Jamaica.”
Declaring that the book was a “pictorial masterpiece”, Jacqueline Robotham, JN business relationship and sales manager, said that JNBS’s donation was a further demon-stration of the organisation’s belief in “the effectiveness of photography to convey important messages”.
“For more than a decade, the JN Foundation has fostered
the Resolution Project, a photographic and advocacy project targeted at rural-based high school students to articulate the issues in their communities through the medium of photography,” she pointed out.
Robotham also explained that the students received formal training to hone their photojournalism skills and to advocate about issues in their communities, as well as to identify solutions to effect positive changes.
Dr Paulette Kerr, campus librarian at the UWI, Mona, was on hand to officially receive the donation. In her brief remarks, the university representative said that the books would be distributed across the UWI Mona, Cave Hill, and St Augustine campuses to reach a wide cross section of students.
“I am happy to have this book in our library, and we hope that it will empower students outside of their regular curricular activities,” said Kerr.