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Can it really be – year 3?!

Wow, can it really be that I am going into my third year of this blog?  So many things have occurred in three years, or more accurately two going on three.  For those of you who follow this site, you now see that this page is no longer black, but off white which is a direct result of Tracy’s advice.  She told me a while back that when a viewer is forced to read lots of text, black on white is much easier to read than white on black.  A small change based on a much, much larger one.

In the past year I have taken an untold number of images and although during my first year I was very proud to post 365 consecutive images, I have no idea how many I posted in year two.   I could go back and count them, but why bother?  My goal in year two was to only post images that I felt reflected my best work and so in most cases, I did.   But since I am human and even more a creature of habit, I wanted to post a different image a day.  For me photography has become much more than a mere hobby and when people ask if I am a ‘professional’ photographer, I proudly answer ‘No.’  For me this craft transcends the financial and my own view of my work is never tied to the all mighty dollar.  Yes, as I type this I am in the first week of my solo show, Moments of Humanity where my work is for sale.  Any net profit from the pieces will be donated to First Exposures or the San Francisco Ballet.  I’ve explained my reasons why in my second year Musings, so I don’t really want to go into my reasons again.

I remember back to when the curator of my show asked if I would like to exhibit my work with another photographer, Deborah Lattimore.  I was literally shocked to be asked to display my work, as I never believed that my work warranted a show.  I immediately went to Deborah’s site and was intimidated that she had had so many shows.  I mentioned this to Leigh and in her always kind way, she picked out several of my images on this blog she felt could be shown and more importantly, why.  As I fast forward to just two days ago, she told me that one of the reasons she wanted to offer me an exhibit is that if I wish to have another show, I could say that I had had an exhibit.  I’m sure that she never expected that a year after I accepted her kind offer, I would be having a solo show.   In any case, her kindness and the human events that happened in this past year are what I really want to talk about.

Through this very simple hobby I have had so many people come into my life who I would have never met.  Sure several of them are also photographers, but there are people who have never held a camera who I’ve come to call friends.  You see, one cannot help but engage people if one photographs them.   Sure in many cases I simply put on my cloaking device and attempt as best I can to be invisible when I am out shooting on the street.

But sometimes I can’t help but engage my ‘subject’ in conversation after having captured their moment on film.  I want to know who they are, why they’re there, what their life is all about, so I ask.  And in some cases, little by little we have come to trust one another enough to begin friendships.

This past year Vernon came to stay at the house for a week.   A man who I had only met once in person flew all the way from Germany to spend his vacation with Tracy and me.  And as with all friendships, our relationship grew because of time spent face to face.  And this year one of the most remarkable events happened, I fell in love.  You’ve read all about how Tracy and I met in my musings, but it is simply remarkable that a woman I only knew online through photography is now sitting three feet from me typing away to her sister.  She’s been living here with me for almost a month and she is as she professed herself to be – just who she is.

And while I was writing this my son Niko called to ask me a favor for which I could not be more excited.  He asked to borrow the macro lens.  So if you’re asking yourself why in the world would you be so happy about this Mark, be patient, because I will tell you.  In September of this year I gave my son a DSLR and lens for his birthday.  In the very beginning of my hobby, he and I would go out at night and shoot together, he with his point and shoot and me with my new/used DSLR.   But as he got older and wanted time ‘away’ from Dad we stopped.  Even back then when I viewed his imagery, I was amazed at his ability to capture the feeling of his subject.

So I was saddened when he no longer participated in shooting.   But tonight, when he asked to borrow the lens, he told me that in two days he will shoot food for a friend who owns a restaurant.  Sure food is not the most exciting thing to photograph and is actually much more difficult than one would think.  No, the real reason I’m so excited is that he is not only beginning to hone his skills, but helping a friend.  I could not be more proud.  And when my son helped me, Tracy and Leigh hang my show, I was moved that he was proud of my work.  It is a moment that I will never forget.

So if you ever wonder where your photography will lead you – where it will lead you is already happening to you – just as it is happening to me.  I for one am eternally thankful for those blessings.

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