James is one of my oldest and dearest friends. It’s only fitting that I post this today as he celebrates his birthday. I met James as I was traveling through college, both of us studying photography. Over the years, he’s stood with me through many major life events and our friendship has become one of brothers.
The best words to describe James are enigmatic and esoteric. He is warm and caring to a fault. He’s also a gifted artist. He’s never pursued commercial interests with his photography. His realm is one of art and travel. His stories of European travels never get old and his images of those far away places are timeless. He has a deep love and respect of the land and a resounding faith that’s been tested many times.
James has taught me a great deal about art. He was the first to teach me that I could give myself permission to be an artist. Many of the things James taught me when we first met are still being used to this day every time I pick up a camera. And that’s fitting as James is so fond of saying, “Make every first a memory”. A man of ritual, every time he does something for the first time, he makes it special and memorable. I’ve tried to carry that forward in my own life. Firsts should never be trivialized. Those are the memories that define a man.
My goal this year is to play more as an artist. Explore, find the passion that started it all. Taking the time to visit my friend at his father’s farm was a day well spent. It’s wonderful to photograph a fellow artist. He gave me permission to try anything and never questioned the process. He understood that art is all about the journey and not about the destination. Whether or not we created an image worthy of viewing was irrelevant. We explored feelings and light and gave ourselves permission to create just for the sake of creation. I was able to try things I would never attempt as a professional. Not because my clients wouldn’t accept it, but because my fear of going too far and failing keep me from trying. This is the passion that I enjoyed when I first decided to become a photographer. The passion that I hope infuses my work this year.
James lost his father this past year. He loved his father with all his might. Cared for him night and day until he was laid to rest. James has become somewhat of a recluse these days, spending his time on his father’s farm, meditating and finding his way in life.
Thy rod and thy staff…they comfort me.
Into the fire, I am complete.
James has one of the best laughs you’ll ever hear and a great sense of humor. Of course drinking what could possibly be the world’s best beer doesn’t hurt either. More on that later. The day we created these images was so cold that I could barely feel my fingers by the end of the shoot. The 2 hours that we spent together were timeless. Happy Birthday my friend!