I have to admit that I have a few favorites. It isn’t really appropriate, right? But it’s true. There are a few folks who, for whatever reason, I just root for, lurk around, check in on, and always feel especially blessed when I hear from. That’s a horrible sentence, but you get it.
I neither have, nor have much need of, a lot of friends. I’m sort of prickly. I’m given to moodiness. If you ask for an opinion you probably won’t like what you hear. If you’re near me much you frequently get these whether you ask for them or not. My close friends have pretty thick skin. I’m not going to change. They know that. For some reason they stick around anyway.
It’s the time of year when we reflect on such things. No matter what our faith (or no faith!) we find ourselves looking around our memorial 'dens' at this time of year. Some of the images are painful. Others may be funny or poignant. They all contain friends. Over time the pictures on the walls in the den of your mind change. One comes down and another one goes up. Someone on the staff up there must do it. I rarely see it happen. I notice the changes at this time of year.
It isn’t really a surprise that this year the walls are covered with photographers, and photographers’ work. It’s what I do. Angela and I were out the other night and someone asked if the hours in this job were better than the hours in my last job. Ang just laughed. Hours? I never really got the concept. My hours these days are split between family and photographers. I’m not sure the split is even.
There are a lot of great memories from this year. Inspire Boston in February and arriving at the Concord Inn in deep snow. Drinking way too much, hanging out late with a great bunch of folks. Coolness.
Lens and Learn before WPPI. Such great kids and so cool to see a concept come to such inspiring fruition. Will Jacks said, “Nothing can take away your pains like seeing a child smile.” He’s so right. Especially when that child hasn’t had a chance to smile in a while. Those kids will never forget their standing ovation from so many great people at the Awards Banquet. I’m grateful to the industry as a whole for that. That’s a memory.
And speaking of WPPI. Studio-freakin-54. A little debauchery and a little too much fun, but there’s just something about seeing over 1000 people just forget about everything else for a while and have fun. That’s on the wall.
Walking through the year with Carlos Baez. Phenomenal photographer in the throws of the change in the industry. At once struggling with change and deepening his focus on his creativity and craft. An honest struggle to understand and see and change in a way that is real, but also appropriate. Too many people don’t have the courage to face these demons. Being a friend and a confidant in the process was/is an honor. And speaking of that, an evening in studio in Chicago with Kevin Weinstein and Dave and Nancy Wittig’s Chicago PUG. That was a night to remember too.
Who can forget Ron Dawson’s award worthy films at Partnercon? These artfully wrought pieces so surpassed my clumsy oratory that when I first saw them I wasn’t sure I could use them. Joe Buissink’s heartfelt testimony, to his love for the industry and his own struggles did what I thought was impossible, and if anything deepened my respect for this amazing soul. Sharie Zellers said what few others would. She was fearful of what might happen, but the applause she got for her courage said as much as she had. In the end though, it was Carla and Ashley and their story and struggle, and their choice to face their challenges with such blatant, ‘logic-less’ positivity...that’s on my wall. The moments I spent with Carla and the time I spent getting to know Ashley in Ron’s films changed me. We can make a difference. We just need to decide to and then do it. We can face our fears. We just need to decide to and then do it. (these films will go online in just a couple of days, if you're interested in seeing them follow me here or on the forums or keep an eye on the Pictage blog and you'll get a chance. They're well worth watching).
There are no blank spots on my walls this year. There are, in fact, a lot of images I’d love to find a place to hang. But these were the big moments. The ones I remember without trying. Most of those of you who are reading this shared a bunch of these with me. I’d love to hear yours too ...