Normally it's "Throwback Thursday" and I'd go searching for old images from the industry. Today needs to be a little different and while it's definitely a "Throwback" day, it's without any images. Today's "Throwback" is about the amazing friendships cultivated over time in this industry. Believe whatever you want, but nothing tops the importance of your relationships with your friends. There is no amount of success that will ever trump the wonder, love and beauty of great friends.
In 1987 I joined Hasselblad USA as president. A year or two down the road we needed something new for our trade show booth. We wanted to make a statement about quality and how big an image could be blown up. My good buddy, Terry Deglau, then at Kodak, contacted a good friend and got us a stunning image of a woman sitting in a wheat field. We enlarged a very small portion of the original negative and made a print that was approximately 4x6...feet! It was tack sharp and because it was such a small portion of the original, it was the equivalent of enlarging the entire frame to 50x50...FEET!
That early demonstration of Hasselblad quality was all thanks to a guy who would become one of my dearest friends, Jerry Constanzo. Over the twenty-five years that followed Jerry, his wife Bonnie and I would share a lot of laughs, conversations and countless mutual friends.
Yesterday afternoon Bonnie lost her battle to cancer. I sat at my computer in shock, reading Jerry's post on Facebook as he shared the sad news with so many friends. I tried to read what he wrote to Sheila and couldn't without cracking. The initial reaction was surreal...how could this be?
Jerry and Bonnie were in Pittsburgh and we were in Sarasota and while we lost touch over the last couple of years, nothing changes the roots of a strong friendship.
I may not have seen them for over a year, but I can hear Bonnie's laugh as if I just hung up the phone. I cherish times we hung out together or Bonnie beating me up because she wanted me and Don Blair to sign a print she had of us. I'm kicking myself for not staying closer to two good friends, but I'm so damn proud to have had them in my life for so many years.
If there's a moral to this story or a lesson to be learned I have no idea what it is...I'm saddened at the industry's loss of one of it's best cheerleaders. I'm sad that I wasn't there to help, to pray, to do something for a family I've cared so much about. This industry is special because of people like Bonnie, somebody who had such remarkable passion for photography, art, her family, her friends and as Jerry mentioned, her grandchildren.
There's a great expression I've heard more than once, "God needed another angel!" Well, I can't help but have this bittersweet smile on my face, because right now Bonnie is whipping heaven into shape and laying out plans to watch over Jerry and her family along with all of us in the industry she so deeply loved.
I luv ya Ms Bonnie - you will be so missed.
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