There are the normal birthday milestones that we will all (hopefully) hurdle: a first birthday, sweet 16, turning 21, the big three-o, etc. And then there are the more personal ones that develop from our own journey.
I remember the year I realized that I’d been alive longer without my mother in my life than with her. She had passed away at the age of forty-eight after a short, brutal battle with cancer. There were many tears that year.
When I was younger, forty-eight seemed a lifetime away. Forty-eight is old! At forty-eight you might as well have one foot on that ice flow.* It should come as no surprise that I’m backtracking on that a wee bit now. And it has nothing to do with the fact that there’s a significant lack of ice flowing past San Francisco.
I’ve spent much of the last year coming to terms with the fact that I was approaching another significant milestone. Today, I am now the same age that my mother was when she died. I can’t even begin to express how angry and bereft I am at the thought that this was all the time that she had. Forty-eight is nothing.
My friends have been wonderful as I talked about this over the last year, working through my fear and anxiety. Thank you for listening.
* “Did Eskimos put their elderly on ice floes to die?” Short answer: Not really. Also, as a Canadian, I’m uncomfortable with the use of Eskimo. Shouldn’t it be “Inuit”?
My love of pinhole photography began with a gift from a friend in 2003. Leslie had spent months looking for a Snapdragon pinhole camera, Polaroid back and a bunch of expired film that I could burn through. She wanted to give me my birthday present just a little bit early that year and included a print out of the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day web site. Leslie passed away very suddenly a few years ago and we all lost something beautiful. She was an incredibly talented and funny woman with a brain unlike any other.
While every day can be a pinhole day, there’s something special about the last Sunday in April. As I drag my gear around looking for inspiration, I know that I’m part of something just a little bit bigger and I know that Leslie is with me.
Here are my contributions to the last nine Worldwide Pinhole Photography Days:
Impossible Project PX680 Color Shade / Polaroid 680 SLR
Impossible Project PX 600 Silver Shade UV+/Polaroid SLR 680
Chieka, Fort Funston, Contax T3.
San Francisco continues to surprise and delight, Contax T3.
Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, Contax T3.
Impossible Project PX680 Color Shade, Polaroid 680 SLR.