Unfortunately there are few events in life that focus your attention on what’s important like the death of a friend, especially when that death means that a seven year old little girl will grow up without her mom and another friend looses his best friend and the love of his life. As a result I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s important in my life and what legacy I’ll leave behind. I’ve been stumbling over this post for the past week and each time I sit down to write I either get too choked up or the message gets muddy. After all, who am I to give some pithy message about life and legacy?
I’m under no delusions that my body of photographic work will play significantly in my legacy, at least not like the masters such as Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter to name just a couple. After attending my friend’s memorial celebration on what was a stunning Vermont summer afternoon and meeting all of the wonderful people who called this beautiful woman friend, daughter and colleague it became very clear. Our legacy will be in the relationships and experiences we share with family and friends. This isn’t any new or cutting edge revelation and has certainly been extolled by countless people before me. But nonetheless, it’s true and bears remembering as we ply the ever increasingly hectic and distracting waters of daily life in this technological age.
How does all of this relate to photography? Simple, if you want to make truly exceptional images that have a lasting impact then you’ve got to photograph a life well lived; and to do that you’ve got to first live life well. So, in no particular order here’s my list of recommendations for living well. Feel free to try some of these and add your own in the comments below. Oh, and there’s one caveat, most of these are best done with others…
Jump in a lake as often as you can
Sleep under the stars
Eat more spinach
Eat more ice cream (if you’re gonna eat more spinach then you sure as hell should eat more ice cream)
Hug your kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews, friend’s kids…
Kiss your spouse
Invite friends over for dinner more
Climb a mountain
Ride a bike
See live music
Sit by a campfire
Clean your house less
Say yes more frequently
Avoid starting sentences with “The problem is…” or “You know what drives me crazy…”
Get a pet
Fall asleep in a hammock
Eat more chocolate
Here’s a recent shot of my girlfriend from an impromptu hike/run up one of our local mountains. Well, she’s actually my wife but on a random Wednesday afternoon in the summer while the kids are at the circus with Nana, she’s my girlfriend! Now quit reading this damn blog and go Live!
Technical Details: Canon 5DII, EF 16-35mm f2.8L II, f11 @ 1/320 sec. ISO 400, 2stop grad ND