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Jim Bush, 72, renowned photographer of celebrities, culture and city

Dec. 27, 1946 — July 15, 2019

Buffalo photographer Jim Bush was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, but he told only his family and very few close friends.

"He didn't want people to worry about him," said his daughter, Callie Bush. "He just wanted to continue his work. He just fought through it."

In those five years, he continued to work, rarely missing a day of work or an assignment until two weeks before his death. When people asked him how he was, he would reply, "I'm great!" his daughter said.

Mr. Bush died July 15, 2019, in his West Side home. He was 72.

He was born in Buffalo, the oldest of three sons of Jane and James S. Bush Sr.

He graduated from high school in Kenmore, then from the New York Institute of Technology.

He opened Jim Bush Photography in the early 1970s, photographing everything from presidents and performers to food, fashion and football. He had a special dedication to photographing the city and dancers, displaying many striking images of them on his business website.

"He shot everything," said Callie Bush. "From dance to corporate to food, to restaurants to local businesses or worldwide businesses, he shot everything."

He also created informational and advertising videos, and in the 1990s, his company was the in-house production team for AM&A's.

However, he most enjoyed photographing his children, Callie and Jimmy. "He came to all of our events, and he always used to say that we were his favorite subjects," said his daughter.

"Making cool photos and videos are my favorite things to do," Mr. Bush said in the mission statement on his website. "My job is to help you tell your story so that others understand who you are, what you do and what you make."

He loved every job he had, whether it was photographing a person, a piece of sushi or a building project, said Linda Bush, his wife of 20 years who remained his close friend after their marriage ended.

"He liked everybody, and he had something special to say about every single opportunity he had," said Linda Bush.

A visit to a restaurant or even a walk down a street with Mr. Bush always included spontaneous greetings and chats, said his daughter. "It was, 'Oh, hey Jim, hey Jim!' " she said. "He not only knew everybody, he was also kind to everybody."

Mr. Bush taught photography for a while at the University at Buffalo, and was happy to assist people who had questions about their cameras or any aspect of his craft, his daughter said.

Celebrities he was hired to photograph on their visits to Western New York included Presidents Ronald Reagan and H. W. Bush, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Marvin Hamlisch, Joe Montana, Doc Severinsen and Rick James. He also shot many photos of Jim Kelly and other Buffalo Bills, and took still photos for movies that were made in Western New York.

His family said he received many awards from professional organizations through the years. In the 1990s, he was a director of the Professional Communicators of Western New York.

Besides his daughter Callie Bush and his former wife Linda Bush, Mr. Bush is survived by his son Jimmy Bush; brothers Tom and Richard Bush; and nieces and nephews.

Services will be private, at his request. "He wasn't the kind of person to want people standing around being sad," said his daughter. "He wanted more of a celebration."

The family plans to open a gallery exhibit of his photography in the coming months, so his friends and family can gather to celebrate his life.

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