Tuesday, 20 December 2011

In Memory of Jon Hrusa

For today, I am going to change a little because I can. I have already taken a photo for today of Mashooda, my boss's daughter but I am going to post another photo which I took yesterday, the day Jon died.

In memory of Jon Hrusa, who loved to photograph the constantly changing clouds its incredible array of colours. Where all we see is the rain, he opened his eyes and saw beauty. This formation of clouds taken yesterday evening at the Northcliff Ridge will never be the same as it was right then. As photographers, to have the gift is to have an eye for the right photograph and Jon had the eye for the beauty, the pain and the gift all around us. Jon took awesome photographs.

I met Jon through Heather who joined the Joburg Photowalkers and bought Jon along. He was a quiet, unassuming but talented photographer. Jon had an impressive array of accolades and looking at his website Jon Hrusa Photography I am amazed with his work so I am unashamedly going copy verbatim off the About the Photographer page so you can get to know who Jon was and why he is a loss to South Africa and the world...

Jon Hrusa is a regional staff photographer for the European PressPhoto Agency, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Jon also works as a freelance photographer for various NGOs and other organizations.

In South Africa, Jon worked as a staff photographer at The Pretoria News, The Sunday Times, and Sportsday, and freelanced for the Associated Press and Reuters before joining EPA.

Jon was named the Ilford South African Press Photographer of the Year in 1991 as well as the Allied/M-Net South Africa Sports Photographer of the Year. He has won multiple South African Press Awards, as well as a Bronze Award at the 2010 South African Profoto Awards. He was awarded third place for Environment and Nature Stories at the 2001 World Press Photo Awards.

Jon is passionate about documentary photography that makes a difference. In 2000, he spent three months documenting the rescue of African penguins after a massive oil spill off the coast of South Africa for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). His photographs were the subject of Spill – Saving Africa’s Oiled Penguins, a book about the penguin rescue published by IFAW.

Jon is one of the primary photographers for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), and has spent years documenting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. He recently documented a unique HIV program in rural Lesotho, which appeared in news outlets around the world and later went on to be featured on ABC's 20/20 and CNN’s Inside Africa. Jon’s photo of a child playing next to an EGPAF-supported health clinic in Swaziland was runner-up in the USAID Frontlines Photo Contest in March 2011.

Jon’s photos have appeared in countless national and international publications, including: National Geographic, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles, Times, MSNBC, Time Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Telegraph, The London Sunday Times Magazine, The Times of London, The South China Morning Post, The Daily Mail, Rugby World Magazine and the Illustreret Videnskab Magazine

In the Zulu tradition, when a person passes on they don't cross over straight away, they wander round the earth visiting their favourite places and where their hearts loved to be. After a time of mourning their loved ones urge them to cross over. And because Jon was a true son of Africa there is this song called The Crossing by Johnny Clegg which is about encouraging the crossing over.

Through all the days that eat away
At every breath that I take
Through all the nights I’ve lain alone
In someone else’s dream, awake
All the words in truth we have spoken
That the wind has blown away
It’s only you that remains with me
Clear as the light of day

O siyeza, o siyeza , sizofika webaba noma 
(we are coming, we are coming, we will arrive soon)
O siyeza, o siyeza, siyagudle lomhlaba 
(we are coming, we are coming, we are moving across this earth)
Siyawela lapheshaya lulezontaba ezimnyama 
(we are crossing over those dark mountains)
Lapha sobheka phansi konke ukhulupheka 
(where we will lay down our troubles)

A punch drunk man in a downtown bar
Takes a beating without making a sound
Through swollen eyes he sways and smiles
’cause none can put him down
Inside of him a boy looks up to his father
For a sign or an approving eye
Oh, its funny how those once so close and now gone
Can still so affect our lives

Take me now, hold me close
Don’t let go, I’m coming home

Jon you have gone home to a much peaceful place, for the world is so full of pain.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jerome. You're more on the money than you even realize.

F-Stop said...

Deep Jerome.

Darren Smith said...

Beautiful tribute Jerome.

Petunia said...

I agree with Darren, beautiful tribute indeed.

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