Photographer and teacher Gideon Manasseh could often be seen carting his equipment from one event after another, determined to capture moments other photographers might miss. He excelled at documenting events of local importance that might otherwise slip under the radar. At this effort he was singularly unique. He was 77 when he passed Aug. 18 at Riverside Rehabilitation Center from cancer that had metastitized.
Born Gerald Shaw April 29, 1939, in Chicago, he arrived 20 minutes before his twin sister, Geraldine. He was the third of six children brought into the world by Fred and Bertha Fears Shaw. He attended Douglass Grammar School and Dunbar Vocational High School, from which he graduated in 1957.
It was at Dunbar that he began his lifelong love of photography. Before joining the U.S. Army in 1961, he was employed by General Motors. After military service, he left Chicago and drove to New York City, which he adopted as his home.
In 2008, Gideon penned portions of his biography: “After learning the tools that apply to filmmaking, trying to find work as a cameraman was impossible, and returning to my trusted 35mm camera for more lucrative assignments, that paid off … I still had the desires for filmmaking, and would get small jobs that kept the fires burning, for the wonderful techniques of storytelling. Landing a job at CBS Television Morning News Department … I was in the company of the finest news makers in the world, but still not quite where I wanted to be. After 10 years with CBS Morning News, in the art department I decided to leave television and try my skill as a feature-filmmaker … [but even] with new skills as a director of cinematography, finding work as a feature-filmmaker was even more impossible, and once again, I picked up my trusted 35mm camera, and again it saved the day. Adding my skill as a journalist I created a whole new life and business in the community of Harlem that I really love, just as I love my first camera as a boy that was given to me by my father, and later a better camera by my older brother.”
Happily settled in his new home, he became Gideon Manasseh and thus began an odyssey that took him from borough to borough photographing people and events, many of them published in the Amsterdam News and other publications. Much of his time was devoted to his family, including his wife, Jacqueline Manasseh-Gladstein.
Gideon also taught at DC 37 for 12 years, according to an email from his only daughter, Makeda Manasseh-Coleston,
He is also survived by two granddaughters, Gia Sarai Manasseh-Coleston, Davina Manasseh-Coleston; a son-in-law, Patrick Coleston; and a host of nieces and nephews, cousins and beloved friends and colleagues.
A memorial service will be held at a future date to be determined.
The staff and extended family of the Amsterdam News mourn this loss and extend condolences and love to Gideon’s family and loved ones.