This weekend in two unrelated and unexpected ways, I was reminded of the power of humanity. I stopped following the news in print, on the internet and TV long ago. Why? Because as a society we sensationalize that which is negative. Story after story repeats and so often speaks to the failings of mankind, often only offering that which breeds fear and dread.
On Saturday Tracy and I ventured out to Princeton by the Sea to photograph the Mavericks annual surfing competition. I rented a 500mm lens for the occasion and we were both very excited to shoot the event. Upon returning home, we listened to the news to hear more about the results as we had left before the finals. What we found moved me. The six finalists all agreed while they were on the water waiting for their final rides that no matter who won, they would split the first prize money.
On Sunday Tracy and I again broke out our gear to photograph the San Francisco performance of Coro Hispano, a San Francisco choral group located in the Mission District. I photographed them last year and this year in addition to performance imagery, we shot formal portraits. As we photographed the event, Tracy and I were in completely separate places in the church. When the group performed their last piece before their encore, I was in the balcony shooting group images from that elevated position. As the music they played and sung filled the air, the beauty of their voices moved me to tears. When we arrived home Tracy asked me about that piece and told me that at the very same moment, she too was brought to tears by the beauty of the aural art they performed.
Although the surfers at Mavericks knew there was to be prize money for the competition they entered, for them it was not about money, but instead about the love of what they do and camaraderie. For the members of Coro Hispano, those same elements are one in the same. So on this weekend, I was reminded not of the fearful and depressing, but about the resilience and honor of humanity. I was proud to be a participant in both.