Ramon caps his lens

russell powell
Read Ramon caps his lens

A significant figure in the Australian Christian media landscape for the past 50 years has been forced to close his ministry due to ill health.

Ramon Williams, 87, whose pictures have regularly featured in Southern Cross magazine since it began, has issued his last news release from Worldwide Photos – the Religious Media Agency.

A career that included photographing world religious leaders, Christian musicians and royalty began after a missionary stint for Mr Williams and his wife Dorothy in Asia with WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade). Worldwide Photos was established in the late 1960s, initially to produce audiovisual material for WEC.

A lack of Christian media outlets during the 1968 Billy Graham crusade was a catalyst for Mr Williams’ work and since then a steady stream of news releases, press information and photographs has been issued by the agency.

His assignments have included photographing every Anglican Archbishop since the time of Sir Marcus Loane – and even photographing Glenn Davies from his ordination as a deacon in 1981 to his inauguration as Archbishop in 2013. He has documented generation after generation of Anglican ministers at ordination and photographed every Royal visit to St Andrew’s Cathedral since 1973.

Each assignment was treated with his trademark humour. “An outstanding memory of the 1973 Royal visit was that the media was instructed to stand within an enclosure, or security ‘will block your view’,” Mr Williams told Southern Cross.

“As Her Majesty came forward, a little old lady ducked under the public barricades, took her photo with her pocket camera (blocking the view for the press photographers) and then went back into the crowd. No security in sight!”

One of his singular achievements was being among the first photographers flown into Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974, documenting the damage to churches and reporting the news to the outside world.

The Australian Religious Press Association honoured him in 1987 with the Gutenberg Award and in 2013 with a Citation for Outstanding Service to Christian Media. Two years later it established an annual scholarship named in his honour, hoping to inspire future generations of journalists to follow Ramon’s ministry motto: “Telling others what others are doing for the Lord”.