Still Missing "Big Daddy"
Until my good buddy, Cindy Smith, posted something on Facebook this morning, I had forgotten that twelve years ago today we lost Don Blair. While there's rarely a day that goes by that something doesn't trigger a memory, the last thing he'd want anybody feeling after all these years is sad. He never stopped celebrating life and along with it photography.
I remember him telling me about shooting his first wedding. He wasn't old enough to drive and had to take the bus, carrying an 8x10 camera, a tripod and the rest of his gear. That was where it all started, and here we are so many years later and he's still an inspiration.
Last week I shared the challenge of shooting a portrait with a tall woman and shorter man. The two images above came from our first program when we launched our book, Don Blair's Guide to Posing and Lighting Body Parts. We were doing the segment about tall grooms with short brides. He was a 6' 6" Algerian boxer from Las Vegas and she under five feet tall! But, check out how beautiful the pose becomes when you sit them down!
Most of you never met "Big Daddy," but that doesn't mean you haven't been influenced by something he taught somebody in your network. I found the short teaser clip below from a Photovision promo. I'm not sure which is more fun to watch, Don teaching or Ed Pierce's haircut from way back when!
So, as a tribute to the legacy left to us by "Big Daddy" - I'll close this with one of his greatest messages. You never stop learning. Your education and ability to raise the bar on the quality of your images and your skill set NEVER slow down.
Don was once asked, "What's the best photograph you've ever made?"
His answer, "I don't know. I haven't made it yet!"
9/26/2016 10:00:19 am
Think of him everyday! Just yesterday I told some friends how a red beret we saw reminded me of a mentor and friend. Miss you Big Daddy!
9/26/2016 10:11:38 am
Great memories, Skip! You always give honor! Thanks so much for sharing! ❤️
9/26/2016 10:46:28 am
Thanks for reminding us Skip. Don was one of my first teachers on the portrait side. He had forgotten more about portrait lighting than most of us know. If today's portrait shooters want a leg up they should go study all of his techniques. Whether or not they are considered "old fashioned" today - the stuff he taught changed the industry and would be a great basis of knowledge for anyone shooting in today's competitive environment. Gosh I feel old thinking about this :)
9/26/2016 11:12:18 am
Miss Don Blair and his wonderful family. Not only was I blesssed to learn from him but have great photo of myself and grandparents. Such a great teacher!
9/27/2016 10:05:36 am
How wonderful to see BigDaddy doing his thing. He was a frequent teacher at our Long Island Photo Worksop. We all miss him!
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