Posted by Bernadette Nunn
Pacific Pulse remembers talented camera man John Bean who was killed, along with journalist Paul Lockyer and pilot Gary Ticehurst, when their helicopter crashed near Lake Eyre in South Australia.
We were privileged to have John film stories for Pacific Pulse in Papua New Guinea and Australia. John travelled to Port Moresby in 2010 to film stories with Pacific Pulse presenter Tania Nugent after they first worked together on Brisbane’s Dreaming Festival in 2009.Tania says, “Like many who worked with John would probably say, he was my JB. After working with John I was spoilt forever, because he was the benchmark that I wanted every cameraman to match up to. Just ask my colleagues Clement and Bernadette. Bernadette would say, ‘You can’t have John, he’s booked for something else.’ (Of course). ‘Well, I want someone like him,’ I would say.
“John’s eye we all know about. We can see that preserved in the incredible images he shot. But his open heart and intellect was what made him so special. As we hung out on shoots and I gabbed on endlessly about the story, he listened, and I would return from the story and look at the rushes and find diamonds upon diamonds of shots that told the story better than any script I could ever write. He made me look good and editing the pieces he shot was like a dream. He invisibly produced and directed my stories. His shots drove the way I edited the pieces. His shots brought heart and soul to them.
“Everyone connected with John, from the Governor General and politicians right down to the destitute forgotten ones. I vividly remember children clamouring all over him after a shoot in a squatter settlement in Port Moresby. Broken kids who instinctively recognised an angel.
“My greatest sorrow goes out to his wife Pip who has lost her soul mate. Words can’t express how I feel when I think about Pip. John was mainly madly in love with Pip. He would talk about her all the time. And that’s the part of this that makes me sadder than I can I remember. They are soul mates. And when I think of her now, I cannot write anymore.”
Tania praised John’s work in Papua New Guinea with Pacific Pulse colleague and co-presenter Clement Paligaru on his Radio Australia program this morning.
John wasn’t just a brilliant cameraman, he was a talented photographer and writer, as evidenced by this blog he wrote about HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea, inspired by one of the many powerful stories he filmed in Port Moresby with Tania for Pacific Pulse.
This photo was taken while John was filming part of the story at the 9-Mile Cemetery in Port Moresby.
John’s camera work always shined. But John wasn’t just extraordinarily talented with a camera – he also brought great humanity and intelligence to his work. That insight and understanding of the stories informed his camera work and offered an extra dimension to the stories he covered.
Dan Cole has also filmed for Pacific Pulse and wrote this article for a university assignment about John and his journalist wife, Pip Courtney, of the ABC’s Landline program, which is also broadcast on Australia Network.
The Pacific media network, Pacific Freedom Forum, paid tribute to John Bean and his colleagues, Paul Lockyer and Gary Ticehurst.
The Pacific Pulse team is privileged to have worked with John. We have lost a great talent and a good man. We send our condolences to John’s wife, Pip, and all those whose lives he touched.
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