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Former Nation photographer Miller passes

ANTOINETTE CONNELL, [email protected]

Former Nation photographer Miller passes

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Antonio Miller, who went from a schoolboy with a love for the camera to a fearless media photographer, passed away this morning after being hospitalised for a few months.

Miller, 46, of Country Park Towers, Country Road, St Michael, spent his life chasing after some of the island’s most dangerous stories and tracking some of its most intriguing personalities. For his tenacity he received awards and gained the respect of his journalism peers.

Miller was in his teens and attending Roebuck Secondary School when well-known photographer Charles Grant, a neighbour and father figure from the Ivy/Howell’s Cross Road, St Michael community, introduced him to the Nation Publishing Company. Within a short time, Miller went from hanging on to the coat-tail of his mentor to being assigned some of the more significant events that led to front page images.

In the 1990s when a swarm of international photographers descended on Barbados in hopes of getting the elusive Princess Margaret who had been flown here in secrecy from Mustique for emergency treatment, Miller triumphed over them. While others raced around trying to find out the royal’s location, Miller was carefully perched outside the Bayview Hospital to snap the picture of the year, the frail sister of Queen Elizabeth II, being wheeled out of the Bayview Hospital to be whisked out the island. 

“He took to photography and could spot a good news shot from a mile away and I had no trouble entrusting certain assignments to him. He was like a son to me,” said a retired Grant who got the sad news on his birthday.

Retired associate managing editor with the Nation, Timothy Slinger, who shared a close friendship and many a news adventure with Miller, said he had an exceptional talent.

“He had a talent that was special and I felt comfortable working with him. He was one of a few photographers who understood what news was and he had a nose for what was a good story. This is a great loss to journalism,” Slinger said.

The two led the way in reporting on an earthquake in Dominica, the release of Maurice Bishop’s killers in Grenada and the death of the notorious Alfred “Al Capone” Harding in St Lucia. 

Executive Editor of the Nation Carol Martindale said there was no doubt Miller was committed to the news profession.

“Antonio could easily sniff out a news story and was relentless in getting the picture to go with that story. During his years at the Nation, I hardly recall, even as a young reporter working with Antonio, ever hearing him say he didn’t get the picture. His contribution to this profession was not only through his images, but his resourcefulness provided us with news tips that resulted in major scoops. While at the Nation, Antonio went all out to ensure that this newspaper was on top of every major news event,” said Martindale.

“The media fraternity has definitely lost someone who was committed to his craft and who, even though he died at a relatively young age, history will be kind to when documenting his contribution to news,” she added.

Yesterday the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) remembered Miller as one of “those very resourceful and assertive news photographers” saying his passing has left a gap in the photographic profession. 

“He will also be missed for his fearlessness in going after the right pictures and the scoops. The BARJAM expresses condolences to the Miller family and pray God’s peace and comfort upon them in this time of grief,” the statement read.

Miller’s photographs elicited a range of emotions and included criminals, politicians, locations that would otherwise be cut off to the public and zeroed in on the pain of victims or zoomed in on the joy of the triumphant. 

While he started his career with the Nation Publishing Company, Miller went on to work for Barbados Today and the Barbados Government Information Service. 

He was the father of five children. (AC)