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March 28, 2014
Star News


The Jamaican 'picture man'... a dying profession
Bjorn Burke, Staff Reporter

With the advent of technological advancements, inclusive of mobile phones with camera capabilities, as well as the general cost of 'point and shoot' digital cameras falling, the Jamaican 'picture man' is rapidly becoming a dying breed.

Jamaican portrait photographer, 76-year-old Marvin Jackson, from Seaward Drive, Kingston 20, can be considered one of the last few practitioners in the dying trade.

"We deh yah hungry, boss. Mi used to deh out a Hope Gardens, a Sunday day time, but all dem ting deh slow down. A di oldest man inna di camera business dis, yu nuh," Jackson shared with our news team.

Jackson, father of five, told THE STAR the business has turned into more of a hobby, lately, having been in the business for more than 40 years, plying his trade outside the Constant Spring tax office in St Andrew.

Jackson has sought to move with the times, swapping out his old analogue camera for a more modern digital camera three years ago.

As Jackson shared his story with THE weekend STAR, a man approached to have his picture taken. Within five minutes, Jackson snapped the man's photo, inserted a memory card into a small portable printer, and printed two passport-size pictures for his client.

He later explained that the sizeable analogue Polaroid camera, hanging from a lanyard around his neck, was merely a prop to alert potential customers that he is open and ready for business.

Another instant photographer, stationed outside the Inland Revenue Department and Tax Collectorate at Cross Roads, St Andrew, told our news team, "Most people stop print now, enuh, all dem do a send Facebook picture. People nuh have album again, them save dem ting inna memory card," he added.

He noted that, in addition to his photography business, he supplements his income by selling beverages and snacks out of a handcart stall he operates.

Name changed upon request.

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