My friend Dan died on Saturday. The news was something we had been anticipating, but it was heartbreaking nonetheless.
I met Dan two years ago, at the opening for that year’s photography show. I had gone to listen to a friend sing and I was drawn in to the work of the local photographers and to Dan, in particular.
There was something about him. A genuine passion for the pieces on the walls, an apparent care for the people who had placed them there, and an immediate engagement with me, a perfect stranger.
He invited my questions that day and entertained the possibility that I too become part of the group. I joined the following fall.
For two years, I’ve had Dan as a teacher. He’s taught me about photography: breaking photos into thirds, avoiding white corners, following sight lines, depth of field, and capturing light.
More than that though, Dan has taught me what it looks like to live life fully and to love others completely… not just when we are dying, but in every moment we are given.
Photography gives us a window into a person’s soul. We get to see what captured their imagination for a moment. We have access to someone else’s truth. We get to ponder their focus and, in that, our own perspective has an opportunity to shift if we let it. Dan was a phenomenal photographer and an incredible teacher.
That’s what I told him the last time I saw him. I told him that my perspective is forever changed. Because he was willing to share his focus with me and others, I see the world in moments worth living and capturing.
I was thinking of Dan when I captured the photo I’ll have on display at this year’s show. It is called “Layered Spring”. The light and reflection caught my eye as I prepared to leave the library a few weeks ago. I couldn’t stop myself from walking across the parking lot and up to the water’s edge to catch the image. I also hoped that Dan might have been looking out his window at that moment because, from his house, an elevated view of this scene would have been possible.
The symbolism of this particular photo is appropriate too. I see all four seasons. I see wind, fire, earth and living water. I also see stillness and dark shades of still-present ice. I see the complications of full living. There is beauty, joy, suffering, pain, cycles, and an immediate moment. I love that I see that. I love that Dan is a part of the reason why I do.
I know when I told Dan that my perspective was forever changed because of him, he knew I was talking about more than photography. I know that because when I leaned in to hug him one more time, he whispered, “I love you,” and I believe that to be completely true. His life and his photos say the same thing.
Copyright Choosing to Grow 2017 www.meaganfrank.com @choosingtogrow