Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Community

I've just returned from the 14th annual NANPA Summit in Destin, FL. I know that I haven't been very active on this blog recently and wanted to explain a little bit of why. My personal life has been in turmoil for almost a year. We suffered through a father in law discovering cancer and living at home on hospice (us mainly, 24hours a day) for 6 weeks before he succumbed. It was very hard for me to watch him suffer, because he kept asking me to help me die, that he didn't want to suffer any more. And I could have, but didn't. 
Then an 18 yo son going through the angst of growing up. Deciding not to accept the academic and soccer scholarship offered him and moving out of the house to discover the world of waiting tables and making ends meet. I'm proud of him in that he at least is listening to his heart and not trying to please everyone else. He is smart and will eventually find his own way. But it's hard on parents.
And to top it all off, I am now about to join the ranks of one of the most common statistics in America. No, not overweight, but divorced. It has been an up and down struggle. Mostly down until recently. That's where the title of this blog comes from. My wife (very soon to be ex-) told some of our friends that she was worried about me and if I had any support. She has no idea how many friends I have.
During my darkest hours, I considered withdrawing and giving up photography and just working in the ER to exist. Then I told some of my best friends about this (most are in the photography community) and they called and supported me and convinced me that this wasn't in my best interest. So, I went to NANPA and got reminded that friends are always there when you need them and that life sometimes sucks, but not forever. I have even realized that this change is changing my entire direction in life towards my dreams of the past 15 years. My photographic endeavors have multiplied greatly and life on the other side is looking wonderful and not bleak.
And I owe all this to my friends. My community. I now realize that my community is composed of all those like minded souls who care about our world and environment and nature and want to have a part in sharing and protecting and loving this world we call home. It's all the other photographers, editors, publishers, printers, agents, naturalist that share a common bond. We all love to photograph or see the photography from beautiful areas but realize that it is not the photograph that is the final result, but what we carry away from the interaction with nature or our fellow man.
My life is now mending in a completely different direction than I ever thought. My photography seems to be central to this new direction (well, it was the direction I've been wanting to go for some time, but could never get on the right path). So, thank you to all who have stuck with me and you will be seeing much more here as I travel and expand my life and my work to display the passion that I have.
I especially want to thank four people who have been instrumental in helping me up from the bottom: Cheryl, Jamie, Rob and Jim. Without you, I know where I would be right now and it would be miserable. And to Tim Z, thanks for always listening. And Jere for being so concerned.
Now, get out there and make some great images, because that is what I'm going to be doing and sharing and teaching. All of you who have been waiting (rather patiently, i might add) for me to resume some teaching, I will be teaching for Great American Photo Workshops in April in the Smokies and for Horizon Workshops in October in the Smokies. I will be posting a more complete list as it comes available.  Thanks for all the emails from those concerned.
Parting note: one good thing about my divorce, it has given me inspiration to reclaim the physical part of my life and I am now back exercising regularly and have lost significant weight. So if you think it's me, but I look different, well you're looking at the me that I see in the mirror even when I'm overweight. It's hard for an athlete to see themselves as anything other than trim and in shape and that's where I am right now. No magic, just hard work and exercise and moderation in eating. And I'm back down to my college weight and feel GREAT.
Until next time---

1 comment:

parrish1 said...

It was by accident that I found your blog. I was looking for some info on Dian Fossey and I put in the wrong name of the photographer.
Your work is beautiful, don't ever give that up for any reason. You have a God given talent and shouldn't let the big bumps in the road bring you down to the point that you loose something I'm sure is precious to you.

I've always heard that what doesn't kill us, will make us stronger. That's hard to remember when you are alone at night. But with each passing day, you will grow stronger and realize this isn't the end, but perhaps a new beginning.
There is a whole big beautiful world out there. Don't forget that. You are stronger than what you think. Take care.