Almost two years ago I began this blog on November 9 2005 with the encouragement of my friend Paul McGuire. I remember we both got our digital SLRs at about the same time. We talked quite a bit about photography and what we hoped to achieve with our new ‘toys.’ Paul suggested that I enter street fairs and sell my work. But even back then the thought of selling my images just wasn’t that palatable to me. When he asked me what I dreamt of for this hobby, I said ‘To one day have an exhibition of my work.’
Today, November 2 2007 that dream of two years ago became a reality. In late 2005 I became involved in volunteering to take photographs of high school events at both music and theatrical productions. It gave me an incredible opportunity to hone my skills in low light photography. I took great joy in giving parents and kids the images I took. In the Fall of 2006 a parent of one of my daughter’s classmates who happened to be the curator for a local gallery approached me about showing some of my work at ArtShare 25, a county art gallery devoted to local San Mateo County artists. I was taken aback at that time, as I didn’t believe that my work deserved to be shown in an exhibit. But Leigh said that she wouldn’t have asked me if she didn’t believe that my work warranted a show. So I nervously accepted. And then she told me that the show would be held in November 2007, an entire YEAR from when she approached me. Back then it seemed like an eternity until the show, but time flew by and today Niko, Leigh, Tracy and I hung my show, Moments of Humanity.
I awoke this morning completely excited and Tracy laughed as I bounded from our bed to begin loading up my 39 images to transport to the gallery. Yes, I was very excited to hang my carefully matted and framed images that I agonized over for three weeks. And since both Tracy and Leigh are MUCH more adept at arranging and hanging the show I was SO RELIEVED when they instinctively began to arrange and space each piece tying them all into a juxtapose and story. I simply did what all men do when two capable women are working – I stayed out of their way.
Niko was out of school at 2:15, so I left the gallery to pick him up. It was very important to me to have him there to help. Like all fathers, I am very proud of my son and know in my heart that if he pursues photography, in a very short time, he quickly surpass my skill level. He possesses an ‘eye’ that I could never hope to achieve. So I wanted him to see how to hang a show and perhaps in his future, he will one day be asked to exhibit his work.
Two very unexpected things happened to me as we prepared the show. First I noticed that Niko was looking at the work while he helped. I could tell by his demeanor that he was happy with some of the pieces. I discovered in that very moment how important it is to me that my son is proud of my work. Watching him is a moment I will never forget. In addition I marveled at Tracy and Leigh. Tracy’s own photographic work has become more sophisticated than mine yet she was there unselfishly helping in such an enthusiastic manner to ensure that my work was presented in the best light possible. Leigh was just as vigilant, sometimes disagreeing with Tracy about the order of the images. In the end they both agreed on the order. But what struck me the most was that these women were exerting their best to assure that my work looked its best.
And at the very end of our task, something very curious happened to me. I felt that the whole event of the show is over. Yes there is a reception to come and the show will run through the majority of December. But for me the work is ‘old’ now and I’m ready to move on. As a matter of fact my mind was occupied with the thought of shooting Day of the Dead event in the Mission District which Tracy and I did shoot tonight. Perhaps it’s that I’m seldom ever satisfied with my work and many times I believe that I get a shot simply out of pure luck.
Today I was reminded in the most vivid ways how truly lucky I am to have family and friends who support me through their actions. I am incredibly blessed.