Former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith has paid tribute to Royal Gazette photographer Tamell Simons, after his untimely death, Bermuda’s Sun reports.
Dame Jennifer said it was Mr Simons’s idea to create a photographic record of the first days of the PLP Government, following the party’s historic victory in 1998 which made Dame Jennifer the first PLP Premier.
Dame Jennifer, now Minister of Education, said: “Personally, I will be forever grateful that he came to us with the idea of capturing our first victory.
“He asked for permission to follow us around leading up to and after the General Election of 1998, noting that he would not get in the way.
“We were all too busy with the campaign, arranging the necessary celebrations and establishing a first Government to worry about photographs.
“But every time I look at the book, Date With Destiny, I give thanks for him. Without his foresight, there would have been no record of that historic event.
“It was that ability to think forward strategically that set Tamell apart — he had the book already formulated in his mind when he requested permission to hang around.
“His contribution to Bermuda, both through his work for the newspaper and on his own, was invaluable and will live on in testament to a passionate photographer and Bermudian.”
Mr Simons, who was 47, died last Thursday after a battle with cancer.
Dame Jennifer said: “Tamell’s death was not totally unexpected — but the news came as a blow. A beautiful life snuffed out too soon.”
Mr Simons, who was awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2002 as a tribute to his work as a photographer and in the community, set up a photography club in 2010 aimed at helping youngsters aged nine to 13 from the Pembroke Central area develop their talents.
He also volunteered at the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute as part of the PhotoVoice Project, teaching those suffering from mental illness the basics of photography as part of their recovery process.
Shortly before his death, he had been working on a project targeting youngsters in Pembroke’s violence-hit Glebe Road area with local MP Ashfield DeVent.
Dame Jennifer added: “I console myself with this thought and send it to his friends and family. Tamell’s life was his legacy. Everything that he did, everyone he helped, every photo, every kind word lives on in the memories of those he touched.”
Dame Jennifer, herself an artist who studied the subject in the US, added: “I am grateful that, in spite of any health issues, Tamell took time to pass on his knowledge and his love for capturing the moment to the next generation of Bermudians.”
And she predicted: “Out of those he has touched will arise someone to carry on his legacy.”
Mr Simons is survived by partner Teresa, his son, also Tamell, and Teresa’s daughter Antoinette.
For the original report go to