Everyone at Ten Bag Press has been deeply saddened by the passing of photographer Jaime Murcia, at the age of 61, after a long illness.
Jaime’s beautiful pictures feature in a number of our books, including The Wimmera, The Mallee, They’re Racing at Manangatang, For Mutual Good and Camperdown and its cup.
Jaime was a hugely talented photographer and a wonderful person.
Our condolences go out to his wife Tina, his sons Daniel and Joel, his extended family and his many friends.
His legacy will live on through the extraordinary collection of pictures he has left behind.
Despite his illness, Jaime made an outstanding contribution to our latest book, The Wimmera.
Fellow photographer and videographer David Callow captured Jaime in action during a shoot in Wal Wal and Warracknabeal and you can watch the resultant video by clicking on the Facebook player below.
Below is the eulogy written by fellow photographer Andrew Chapman.
An acquaintance of mine once said, ‘you’ve got to want to burn to be a photographer’. What she meant was that many photographers can take photographs, but there are those who are driven, who will go to great lengths to obtain their vision of how things should be. Jaime Murcia was one of those burning photographers.
I first met Jaime around 2005 when he came to work on MAP Group’s Beyond Reasonable Drought project.
We slowly developed a friendship and what probably impressed me most at the time was his enthusiasm and drive to get every project he worked on off the ground. It was more than just that, there was an easy infectiousness in knowing Jaime. He was so likeable and in no time we became firm friends. That was back in the McKinnon days when he worked out of a shopfront and lived out the back with Tina and the boys. Jaime shared two other of my passions, food and music. In the shopfront at McKinnon he would always place an album of the week in the window, vinyl of course!.
Out the back was a wood-fired pizza oven and it was a treat to have food straight out of the oven, mostly pizza or paella.
Jaime had a really bright idea about documenting Melbourne‘s lane ways and small streets. In MAP Group, we developed the project ‘Little Big Town’ and the group produced quite a nice show on it. But Jaime had given his all to it and really had enough material to do a project on his own.
Many an early morning was spent alongside Jaime, exploring the city’s backstreets and alleyways. Jaime knew them all and was always showing me their secrets, like the Banksy Rat.
I had been publishing for a few years with Five Mile Press, when Julia Taylor, my editor, said they were going to do some small books to try something different. I went into bat for a number of projects including Little Big Town.
It was and is still a great volume, and it was great to get Jaime‘s work published in a tough publishing environment. We also endeavoured over many years to get his ‘Camino’ book published, alas to no avail. I still think it will make a great book from a great and committed project, if we can only get a publisher to get on board. Jaime was even contemplating a third walk, should he ever recover. Plans, plans, plans, right up till the end.
In 2012 we formed a team of photographers to photograph a book for the Camperdown Racing Club titled Camperdown and It’s Cup. Noel Butcher, Jaime and I photographed the book in a day and a half. When I put the book project together I used photographers I knew would deliver, and both Noel and Jaime complimented the book beautifully. Adam McNicol from Ten Bag Press and Phil Campbell came on board as publisher and designer and the team was born.
Little did we know it at the time, that that would lead to many new publishing projects. They included They’re Racing at Manangatang, followed by The Mallee and the just published The Wimmera. Jaime managed to get himself well enough to make a trip down to he Wimmera with his son Daniel in June, so keen was he to make sure he had done his share of the work! He was fortunate enough to see the first copy of The Wimmera two weeks ago when Adam made sure to give him the first two copies straight from the printers. He had gotten to see them before he passed on. Of course he was really thrilled.
There were so many plans we had made and it is very sad that we will never be able to share another road trip together again, having fun, talking photography, crap, politics, new ideas and just enjoying the thrill of taking photographs. Every new destination was a new opportunity.
In time the Ten Bag team expanded to include Erin Jonnasson, Melanie Faith Dove and later David Callow. It is one big happy family and his passing will leave a giant hole in the team, not just from a photographic point of view, but from a human one. We all loved Jaime to bits.
Jamie was a photographer’s photographer. Other photographers instantly recognised his genius, his creativity and his drive. His infectious nature endeared him to so many people who travelled around his orbit. I never heard a bad word spoken of him and that’s a great compliment, a fitting one indeed.
Jaime and I talked a lot about death. We both had and shared experiences where it was obvious we were going to die. My experience was ultimately luckier than his, but it gave us an easiness chatting about death. I feel, in the end, Jaime had resolved himself to dying. We last chatted on Saturday, he was walking around the ward and enjoying the winter sunshine streaming in, even taking time to take a photo on his iPhone for our good friend Anna Wolf. He was hoping to get a little bit of radiation and get home for a few days and rummage through his hard drives and pull up a few files for a publishing project we were talking about. It’s hard to believe 2 1/2 days later he was gone. I’m only glad that Tina, Joel, and Daniel were able to be by his side and to see him lovingly out of this world into the next.
It’s too soon to say how big a hole Jamie will leave in my life, not just mine but everybody who came in contact with. He is ever present and it’ll be a while till I shake his presence out of my mind and my life. What am I saying, that will never happen!
They certainly threw the mould away when they made Jaime And I’m kind of glad they did. He was a one off, and that’s the way I like it.
Jaime Murcia: 19/12/59 – 31/08/21