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VALE: Jens Madsen

August 4, 2011: Jens Madsen (formerly of Madsens Camera & Imaging, Wollongong), passed away in hospital on July 31 aged 72 years, after losing his battle with bowel cancer.

He leaves behind his wife Kari, children and in-laws, as well as extended family in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and many friends and colleagues in the photographic industry.

His funeral service will be held in the chapel, Parsons Funeral Home, 34 Belmore St Wollongong on Friday August 5 at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers donations to Cancer Council Illawarra Region would be appreciated.

Earlier this year Jens’ daughter, Sonja Lunn, contributed the following history of Jens Madsen and the family business he loved and nurtured, which we have taken the liberty of reproducing by way of an obituary:

‘Jens Madsen was a pioneer from the outset. The business started in Crown Street, Wollongong in 1966. In those days wedding and portrait photographers preferred working in B&W and sepia, while their customers wanted colour photographs and Madsens captured a major part of the market by accommodating those demands.

Madsens was also a pioneer in providing on-site one-hour service in the days when customers generally had to wait three weeks to get passport photos.

Our Santa photography was very successful, as we were one of the first to offer double prints. We sold three photos and gave them six. We also did a larger size to our competitors to secure a niche in the market. Madsens also did child portrait promotions in shopping centres well before the days of Pixie Fotos and the like.

Jens said his busiest day was in Goulburn (on the day I was born!), when he photographed around 250 babies and children.

We always had good systems in place which allowed us to do the type of photography that made us well known in Wollongong.

We used to to train our own photographers for weddings, and preferred to use women photographers due to their attention to detail and manner with the brides. It was a very successful combination in those days.

In the ’80s the business expanded and moved to larger premises in Crown Street, Wollongong, occupying most of three entire floors in the building. We started our photographic retail and processing laboratory for colour and B&W prints as well as slides.

We handled work from many of the local professional photographers. We also had our own in-store Santa, and photographed thousands of children as well as offering a picture-framing services.

A major promotional effort in the schools during the ’80s and ’90s was our annual national student photo competition (pictured left; Kari and Jens at photo competition exhibition in 1995), Our suppliers were most supportive, and in our best year we had over $10,000 in prizes on offer.

Anyone who has visited the store over the years will understand Jens’ passion for photography. He was like a kid in a toy shop. I have always admired how he maintained the enthusiasm all these years. It is a great loss of experience and knowledge to the photographic industry.

Kari and Jens Madsen worked together in the business since Kari joined in February 1969, and continued working side by side in the business every day while raising two daughters, myself and Lisa. It was a family affair for most of the years, with many loyal, long-term staff becoming part of that family.’

– We offer our sincere condolences to the Madsens. It was a cruel twist of fate that Jens did not have just a little more time after his retirement to enjoy with his beloved wife and family.

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