Earlier this week I was thinking about what I wanted to share for Throwback Thursday, and I was stumped until Cindy Smith shared a memorial post about Don Blair, yesterday on Facebook. Don passed away fourteen years ago. Well, there it was, the perfect topic for today's Throwback Thursday.
I'm guessing at least half my readership never knew Don Blair directly, but indirectly, you probably do something today you learned over the years from somebody who did know him or was influenced by his style. He was a remarkable photographer, educator and somehow became the older brother I never had!
Loved by an entire industry, if ten of us who knew him well got together right now and started telling "Big Daddy" stories, we'd still be sharing the laughs tomorrow morning, and with more material to share. So, in keeping with Throwback Thursday here's one of my favorites:
I joined Hasselblad USA in July 1987. In 1988 I attended my first PPA convention, and on the first morning of the show, we were in the coffee shop of the hotel. On my way out I was introduced to the legend himself. Knowing who he was, I was totally star-struck and close to speechless. This was also back in the days when I wore nothing but double-breasted suits at every conference, doing my best to look the part of the president of Hasselblad USA.
Don gave me a warm welcome with a big handshake and smile and looked me up and down and said, "My man, that's a good-looking suit, and I love that tie!" I was flattered and responded with, "Thanks, it's one of my favorites." With a completely straight face, he looked at me and said, "Hang on to it - one of these days it's going to come back in style!"
That was it - he nailed me and complete with an audience of his "nieces" at the table behind him. Little did I know that short "gotcha" would kick off an incredible friendship that would continue for the next sixteen years!
I can't top what Cindy Smith wrote in her post yesterday:
14 years ago the photographic industry lost a dear friend....Wanted to share some words of wisdom from Don Blair...
When Don's beloved wife Donna passed away, there was a whole bunch of us from the industry who attended her funeral. We were all sitting together, having lunch at the repast, when Don walked by and said to somebody in the group, "Hey Numbnuts!" All of us turned around and said, "What?" A year or so later somebody made up golf shirts, and I was proud to be "Numb 1," and I've still got the shirt!
Wishing everybody a terrific Throwback Thursday and memories as wonderful as the ones I have with Don Blair. There's a great line from Alfred Lord Tennyson that I've shared before, "I am a part of all that I have met."
I learned so much from "Big Daddy" and like many of you who met him, he's a part of us.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
And to the man himself, I love ya and miss ya, pal!
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.