Losing Chuck Westfall this week has me pondering the meaning of life combined with the pride of what we do as an industry. We help people stop time, turning the intangible into tangible with moments they can hold in their hands for a lifetime!
Chuck's death got me thinking about some of the incredible people we've lost over the years, but not in a sad way but as a celebration of their lives and the legacy they left behind. Each one touched our lives, and their memories are captured in their images and the lessons they did their best to teach us. I'm not sure there is a deep meaning to life except to live it to the fullest; be kind to each other and cherish every moment we have with those people most special to us.
We all watched the news this past year and witnessed the world in crisis, from Mother Nature's wrath of hurricanes, floods, fires, mudslides, winter storms to flu epidemics to man-made disasters of school shootings, bombings and most recently a bridge collapse. In every crisis, lives were cut short without warning, and the grief of the survivors is deafening.
So, here's my point this morning...
As an industry, we have a responsibility to those survivors frantically clinging to their memories of lost family and friends. Their videos and photographs whether in an album, a picture frame or even on their cell phone need to be preserved and always of the highest quality.
As professional photographers, just like doctors, you've taken an oath to never compromise on the quality of any image you control. You've made a commitment to be the eyes and the hearts of your clients when they're too busy to notice the world around them and most important of all to listen and understand their needs when you've been hired to capture those fleeting moments of their lives.
Every couple of years I share this video from an old Kodak commercial/project. It's off of YouTube, and the quality is terrible, yet it's the very best story ever made about photography. If you've never seen it, take the time to watch it and appreciate your role as an artist. And, if you have seen it, trust me and watch it again! It truly brings the value of photography into perspective. I've teared up every time I've watched it, because it does such an incredible job of reminding me of the importance of what we all share in our love for the craft.
The video is called "Live Forever," and that's exactly what we allow memories to do. That means we each have a responsibility, no matter what our role is in photography, to exceed expectations with every image we capture.
Wishing everybody a Sunday filled with memory-making moments and time with the people you love most. Stay focused on what's truly important in your life and stop wasting time on the small stuff. If you live your life to the very fullest, you'll never be looking back or "shoulding" on yourself. And as always, go for those eleven-second hugs - time is your most valuable commodity and spending time in a therapeutic long hug is one of the best ways to remind people how important they are in your life.
And to Chuck Westfall - We're going to miss you buddy, but your legacy of kindness and integrity are in good hands!
Happy Sunday everybody!
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.