Suzanne called me and wanted to meet. That’s always a pleasurable experience for me, well both of us., and I was anxious to see her. So I went to her home on Spruce Street and we sat and had coffee. Now. Suzanne is a Starbucky kinda lady and has a few of their rot gut dead burnt beans in the house. She also has Pure Natural Organic Kona beans cause I gave it to her for when I am there. She makes me a cup of kona and she makes herself a cup of rotgut starbucky crapola. Then she says….Mr Don…at tihs point I know I’m there to work cause when she addresses me as Mr Don, it’s work. She ask me to sit at the dining room table and brings over a box of prints. So the box has around 120 prints with sizes from 8×10 to 16×20. She looks me in the eyes and says, “your my mentor, my friend and my teacher, make sense of all this”. Ain’t enuff Kona in my cup to get me into doing this, but I have to.
So, I tell Suzanne that we need to re-experience the frame of heart and mind from exposure to now. Now THE LORD blessed Suzanne with aa amazing heart, brilliant mind and a very clinical way to look at things. She’s a Heart Doctor and excellent at that. This causes her to look at photos more as her patients than the new reality that they are.
We start going thru the prints and I’m curating as I go. I know her and she’s a gentle lady with the heart of a Tiger. I also know that I don’t want to hurt her feelings in a ny manner. If I do the edit hard, she maybe gets upset cause photo’s she cares about are not selected. If I go to easy she will know and thinks I was just doing this to satisfy her. So I decide to just be myself and edit the way I feel it should be.
I pull the 4 16×20’s and look closely. I tell her that the size is wrong for the image. We don’t make large prints cause we can. We make the print to preserve the intimacy and content of the image. We are going deep into the box of prints. They are calling to me for attention. Suzanne sees me diving into her heart and mind and ask me if I’m hungry. My ears perk up and I calmly tell her, of course. See Suzanne makes amazing sushi and it’s better than any restaurant I ever been too. So she’s making sushi and maki and I”m being diligent with her work going thru it very carefully. There are like 10 photos on the third pass thru that continually call attention. We stop to eat and sip some saki at exactly 105F because she’s true Japanesse and insist on tradition.
Now is the moment of reckoning. It’s the moment that she has commissioned to me and the moment of truth for me that shines if I flatter her or get real. We sit together on the floor. We are looking at prints. I lay 10 in a pile next to her. She looks at me and has that Suzanne loves don as long as don is kind and doesn’t hurt her feelings. That’s not exactly true, more like I have a fathers look to his daughter and just wants her happy.
That’s really the issue here. Do I just paint a pretty picture or do I stand my ground and as a friend, explain my real thoughts? I opt for the 2nd scenario. She ask me which pile of prints is really worthwhile to represent her. I point to the 10 and she kinda gets set aback but not visually upset. She ask why just 10 and what do they posess that the others don’t? I explain that when anyone looks a a photo, if you see the scene or whatever is in it, then it may be a great photo but not representative of the eye, heart and mind.
If you look at a photo and see and feel the shooter in the photo, that’s it! She gets quiet for a few moments. Then she says, Don I remember these 10 specifically and how present I was in the moment. It’s like I was in a state of consciousness that was heightened. In my country and my family, we would call this Zen. When this happens to me, I feel like BUDDHA is with me. Well, that is an amazing observation and experience.
I told her that was the reason I selected those 10 prints. She smiled and said she understood completely. I knew that she did. She mentioned to me that she wanted to work how I work. I said she is too young and too refined and elegant to do anything like me. Not in the visual elements but in the intent. My intent is that I am me, I work for me, I show photos because I like to. I am not trying to impress anyone. I am a photographer all my life because I have to.
Suzanne is a fine photographer, 28 years my younger so I feel she needs to experience all that her life will bring to her. The experience was very rewarding to both of us. I love to learn what I teach and I love to gteach what I learn. Most of all, her sushi is amazing……
Peace all, be blessed and never, ever doubt yourself.