I have a blog post all queued up about making portraits of strangers on the street, but I find myself needing to shift gears today. Please bare with me, I promise there is a tie in to photography in here somewhere.
The photo at the top of this post is of my Golden Retriever Sadie. She was the first child my wife and I jointly brought into our family, was there when our daughter was born, and they have basically grown up together. Here is a quick iPhone snapshot of the two of them together:
Sadie passed away this morning at the age of 11. It was unexpected, sudden, and heartbreaking. Those that know me know that long before I picked up a camera I picked up a stethoscope to begin a career as a paramedic (you can read more about my story HERE if you like). Through my work as a paramedic I have seen hundreds of people pass away. It is always sad, but you are somewhat removed from it as a paramedic… observing from the outside if you will.
Today, after Sadie died, I went searching for photographs of her to make the obligatory Facebook post and found the photos above, as well as the 3 below. I shot these photos for a friend one day when I was teaching him how wide angle lenses cause distortion when used incorrectly, especially on people’s faces. No one else was home, however, so to demonstrate this principle I set up some studio lighting and shot photos of Sadie at 10mm, distorting the crap out of her. We had a great time (well, at least I did). Here are a couple of the photos:
…How can you not love that face?
There is a saying, adapted from a biblical reference:
“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”
I had 11 amazing years with Sadie. She was an integral part of our family, and now she is gone. Looking back through my Lightroom catalog this morning made me realize that I don’t have anywhere near as many photos of her, or my family for that matter, as I do of epic sunsets, beautiful models, and strangers on the streets of the various cities I have travelled to.
I write this post because I have thoughts I need to get out right now, but also to serve as a gentle reminder to all of us that life is precious, and we as photographers have the ability to create memories that we will want, even need, one day in the future. The next time you have the urge to shoot think about making a portrait of a loved one, shoot a friend doing something they love, or take a selfie in one of your favourite places. Life is too short not too.
Here is one final photo of Sadie for this post:
Man’s best friend indeed. Farewell, my friend.