Noli Yamsuan, 71
VETERAN PHOTOGRAPHER Noli Yamsuan died December 10, 2016. He was 71.
Yamsuan, a photographer for more than four decades, is remembered for the special assignment he described as “I shoot priests.” Indeed, he “shot” popes and cardinals too, as he chronicled through his camera every single major event of the Catholic Church in the Philippines in the last three decades. He has been favored abundantly with opportunities to get close to these eminent subjects — what with the visits of Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995, of Pope Francis in 2015 and the canonization of the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, in Rome in 1987.
But it was the ministry of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime L. Cardinal Sin that the photographer found his most significant assignment. As the chief photographer of the Archdiocese of Manila, he recorded the evolution of the pastor into the public critic, speaking always in moral terms about the abuse of power and the need for political change.
Friends and colleagues mourned the passing of the acclaimed photojournalist. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas remembered Yamsuan as an exceptional photojournalist. “He was the loyal and outstanding photographer of popes and cardinals, and bishops, priests, and church events. Through his camera lens, he captured immortal moments of grace,” Villegas said. (“Veteran Catholic photographer Noli Yamsuan dies”)
Yamsuan was a licensed chemical engineer, but his passion for photography re-directed him to a career in photojournalism. He worked for several local and international publications including Manila Daily Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Veritas NewsWeekly, Metro Magazine, Taipan, Sports Asia, Woman Today Magazine, Time Magazine (USA), News and World Report (USA), Asiaweek (Asia), Asia Magazine, Orientation and Asia Today (Australia), developing a finely honed sense for pictures that tell the story, sometimes better than words. (“Noli Yamsuan passes away”)
Melinda Quintos de Jesus who with the late Felix Bautista edited Veritas NewsWeekly from 1983 to 1987 ranks him among the best in the field, capturing the fleeting pose that said it all about the subject. “He gave us the best pictures for the front page. He was fun at work, always had a story to make us laugh, the joke that crossed his mind as he took the shot.”
He is survived by his wife, Peachy, who also worked as former head of the Archdiocese of Manila’s communications office, children Jimbo, Erwin and Paola and four granddaughters.