Sunday Ms Dowd of the NYT did a column on the oddity that Iowa with it's gay marriage acceptance was usurping the coolness of places like California and New York...and noted how
I ran across some hunters in a parking lot just inside Murfreesboro. They had a deer tied up in the back of the truck and a small gathering of admirers (it was a 10-pointer). I made a quick decision to stop and pulled through the lot, parked close by and pulled the camera out of the back. No problem taking a picture, they said, and the shooter jumped up on the truck and posed. I drove to Fayetteville and back this weekend. Picked up Herb at the farm on the way down, and told him my story. "I hate that," he said. "I don't have anything against the hunting, but they don't have to tie them to the hood of their car or hang em over the back and parade em through town. They could put em in the back and cover em with a tarp or something."
It's funny what you keep. We throw away a lot of things that would still have purpose for many, and we hang on to seemingly useless things, often only because of some sentiment somewhere along the line. My father died when I was 17, and more than 30 years later I have an odd assortment of his belongings, that I don't pay much attention to. Most are in boxes in the attic. An assortment of military hats and belts and clothing from his marine days and time in Korea. Some books, often pen and ink art tombs on rendering techniques. Some of his drawings from engineering school at NC State. I have an old Fayetteville High School T-shirt from his school days. It is not in the attic. It's in my chest of drawers along with all the other clothes I really wear. When Walker was young, I draped it over him, when he was so small it hit the floor. I don't even know why it was important to hang onto the shirt, or take my son's picture in it. But I did and I have it. The picture and the tee shirt. It's too fragile to be worn, but it still lives in the drawer, like my life's paper weight. And one pair of shoes I've kept. I think my father loved shoes. And I think he loved the idea of looking dapper. He had good ties, dress shirts in nice colors, and seersucker suits in summer. But always good shoes. So I hung on to this pair of black and white wing tips. I don't know why other than they appealed to me. I couldn't wear them, surprisingly too small. And I'm sure I was early on my way to becoming a shooter and thought somehow they'd be something to shoot someday. Evidence to be captured that my dad was alive and well and stylish, though I remember so little of him now.
Earlier this year, an image I shot a few years back was picked for a juried show in Richmond. One of the curators called with the news, noting that three of the five images we'd submitted were picked to make up the 20-photograph show. "The judges also picked one of your images as best in show," he added, "and it wasn't really a hard choice. They all felt drawn to the moment and strength and stripped-bare honestly of the photograph." It means a lot that people may like your work, but this was an image in particular that I have looked back on and loved that I was there and all the buttons worked.
Just moved into September and what must be the Fall around the corner. We've tried to get the dogs to the beach everyday. On the weekends in the mornings, weekdays mostly in the evening. Sometimes Walker takes the younger Henry by himself. Sometimes he and I take Henry and Lucky. And then sometimes, like tonight I go with both of them on my on. This is the most harrowing. I spend the one block journey to the beach trying to hold on for all our lives (on the return they are gentlemanly, tired and enjoyable). But once across Atlantic Ave and free of tether, they bound off nipping at each other racing toward the sea. Sometimes I have a camera, and sometimes they give me one perfect formation. The single mindedness of a Lab and a tennis ball. Two neighbor dogs join Henry and Lucky and the chase is on. But the great gift they give, they couldn't realize. Without these two dogs cajoling us as the afternoon gets long, we might not go to the beach everyday. And we'd deprive ourselves of the very reason we came here. Crashing water and sand and dunes with waving grasses, breezes that give way to perfect endings and dreamy skies.
Found this line from Ted Jr.'s eulogy particularly resonant: "Even our most profound losses are survivable.... It is what we do with that loss -- our ability to turn it into a positive," that matters. Forwarded from a friend.
I was away on shoot when Walker had his first day of high school. It was a half day walk through for rising 9th graders, to see the school, walk the halls and get a leg up on the routine that starts in earnest next week after Labor Day. So I wasn't there at the bus stop to see him off and witness how he started his day. It wasn't until two strangers knocked on the door that evening around 10pm that the story emerged. Mike and Robin Katz introduced themselves and handed me a bag with cookies and letter. They said their son Joey was also at the bus stop that morning, nervously awaiting his own first day at high school. Challenged by autism, he was facing a new school in a new town. Walker had picked up on this, and befriended Joey on this their first day of high school. After walking them to the street and hearing them tell me what a great kid we had, I returned to hear my son reread the letter to a teary mother. What a great way to start the year. Here's the letter.
Moving from Ohio to Virginia was huge leap of faith for our family. Robin grew up here, but when she was just four years older than you are now; she moved to Ohio and has only returned to the area for visits. Michael and Joey have lived in Ohio their entire lives!
As I’m sure you know, parents always want the best for their children and they try to shield them from pain while giving them the freedom they need to grow and experience life themselves. Joey is our youngest and this morning faced going to a new school in a new city, without knowing a single person. As his parents, we were concerned about this, and walked to the bus this morning with Joey with heavy hearts.
Our walk home from the bus stop this morning (and again in the afternoon) was much different. Our hearts were full with joy and optimism. This was because we met you. You are a wonderful young man. You appear confident and your actions show great compassion for others. You brought more sunshine into our lives in one day than you could ever imagine. Surely your parents are proud of the young man you have become.
We have enclosed some sweet treats for you and your family. These cookies were made by a company in our former hometown. Again, we thank you for your kindness and look forward to seeing you and your family in the days ahead. We are leaving town early Thursday and will not return until late the night before school starts. Enjoy the rest of your summer and we will see you at the bus stop!
Christie Kelly and I have been working with two friends on the west coast to start a new business initiative that would link photographers, film makers. designers and marketing gurus to non profits to help them increase their awareness, and ability to raise funds. PWH is the brainchild of Kathleen Hennessey and Barb Ries. I joined the collaboration last winter and we've been working on our own website before venturing out to find clients. Many thanks to Megan Reed, who helped us with the design and programming. Have a look.
Here's to the joys of summer, and the adventures of rockets and beetle spaceships. Where on just the right night when balmy breezes push cotton candy smells across the dusty fairgrounds, there's just enough magic to soar past the ferris wheel, circle back for one last wave to mom then zoom on to a night of adventure. Buckle up cowboy, your world is circling.
In an article from yesterday's NY Times
Everyone's up in arms over the Obama administration's proposed health care overhaul. And while I won't pretend to be totally tuned in on all it's nuances, the biggest concern seems to be the price tag: It costs too much money. It will bankrupt our children. And the level of care will be diminished. Maybe so, but let's back up. This initiative I believe grew out of a well-meaning concern that some 47 or so million people in US can't afford health care. I certainly think it's a noble idea to want everyone in this country to have health insurance and access to the best in health care.