by Skip Cohen
A couple of days ago I wrote what's become one my most commented about posts. You don't see the comments here because they're all on Facebook. The topic was the difference between photographers who are committed to the craft versus just being involved.
Well, the post wasn't meant to be all inclusive and my pal, Kaylene Fister added three more of her own that put a big smile on my face this morning.
"9. Do you find yourself unable to enjoy a movie for the plot; instead you're looking at the lighting, the composition etc?
10. Can you no longer have a proper conversation with someone because you're engrossed in studying what the light is doing to their facial features/structure?
11. Do you read all of these points and realize that you are, in fact, committed and sometimes so much so that you are risking being committed to an institution? :)"
Kaylene's number ten brought back a story that happened about twelve years ago...
Don Blair was one of the finest portrait photographers and educators our industry has ever had. He influenced thousands of photographers to raise the bar on the quality of their images and to pay attention to lighting. Over the years he became one of my very dearest friends and passed away in 2004 at 79. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't miss him.
His wife, Donna, passed away after a long battle with ALS and a number of people in the industry flew out to Salt Lake for the funeral. Well, I was standing next to "Big Daddy" in the funeral home. It was a long day, with a line of people that went all the way around the building with people coming to pay their respects. The casket was opened and Donna was simply beautiful.
Out of the clear blue, Don stopped greeting people and shaking hands and just turned around and looked at Donna.
"Hey Buddy, look at the way the light is hitting her face right now! Look at the highlights on her face. Is that the most beautiful light you've ever seen? She really is an angel!"
There was a single spotter on the ceiling about twelve feet up and a little window light coming in through the drapes on the side. She truly was lit like an angel...and that was what Don lived for, finding the light or creating it. His passion and commitment to photography was unmatched. Nobody did it better.
So, if you're here this morning, welcome to the "Committed Club". We've all chosen an amazing career path and after my own experiences over the years, for you newbies, I can promise a future of incredible friendships, memories, laughs and tears. Oh how I love this industry!
Thanks Kaylene and thanks to all of you for making it all possible. Happy Sunday - hug your family, friends and spend the day thinking about something other than work. It'll all still be there tomorrow morning.
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.