Safrea pays tribute to Shaun Earl Harris who passed away last month. We celebrate the life of this Jamaican-born South African who was an accomplished photographer, videographer, journalist and diligent campaigner against copyright abuse in the country.
“As a Safrea Exco member heading up IP and Copyright, Shaun was a stalwart fighter for all of our rights, tirelessly working to ensure that copyright of photographers in particular was respected,” said Lynne Smit, Safrea Chair.
This month we feature Shaun’s photography. These images capture the beauty he saw in the world and all around him. “Shaun saw life through a different lens. He saw moments, that when captured, would turn into lifetime memories. Captured moments that would evoke the exact feelings you had when you were there – or wish you could be there. His photography tells a story – from a simply sky image to iconic moments with presidents,” said colleague and Safrea Vice-Chair, Hush Naidoo.
His fight for copyright protection and a united industry
As Safrea Exco member Shaun tried to create an understanding of the importance of copyright among creatives, their clients and government. His own fight against the misuse of his famous Nelson Mandela photos sparked controversy and can be regarded as the starting point of making clients understand that they cannot simply use and abuse photographers’ images without compensation.
Shaun’s one desire was to unite the industry and help it grow. He wanted creatives to stop fighting among themselves and stand together, helping each other. “We should keep Shaun’s legacy alive by fighting until we are united and have lawful protection,” said Hush.
Memories of Shaun
At his memorial service, many tears were shed and stories told of a man that touched so many lives. His children spoke about his love for his family and his twin sister of his willingness to always help others. Shaun was a much-loved son, father, solider, husband, brother and colleague.
Safreans pay tribute
“Shaun was a gentle soul and every interaction I had with him was pleasant and kind. He was fiercely committed to matters of copyright and, despite numerous personal constraints, served our community tirelessly and without complaint.
He will be missed. May his daughters, family members, friends and community
“A tribute to a man that helped me see the world in a different light is not easy. I met Shaun about 26 years ago when working on an assignment at M-Net. In his jovial calm way Shaun and I always worked well together with many a laugh. We had not seen each other for many years but always stayed in contact. Let’s honour him by rallying and uniting as a strong group supporting each other.”
“I am deeply sad about Shaun’s death. I recently interviewed Shaun for a copyright article I was hoping to put together for Ground Up on the unfairness of the ‘Fair Use’ clauses. I will finish my story with recognition of Shaun’s unstinting service.”
“I worked with Shaun on a number of projects and learnt a lot from him. He always kept me posted of all his big projects and we were soon to work together on another project.
|Marinda Louw Coetzee
“Shaun has done well. I am sure everyone of us staying behind, is aware of the fragility and beauty of life and that it will inspire us to do good, both professionally and personally.”
“Gentle Shaun was standing up for all of us regarding copyright. An ethical colleague that will be missed by all. Such sad news. RIP Shaun.”
“It is sad that he was never compensated in his claim for the illegal use of his photo of Mandela after Mandela’s death.”
“He struck me as being a wonderful person – and full of life. May he RIP.”
“Sad news indeed. I only met him telephonically. Condolences to his family and loved ones.”
“RIP Shaun Harris. Condolences to all who were close to him.”
“Such tragic news. RIP.”
“Rest in peace great man.”