I take pictures to save moments in my life. Having a photo gives me time to understand the significance of moments that I have lived. I can go on living my life for what it's worth by absorbing meaning in my photographs that I might of missed during the experience itself. After all, our present self is entirely dependent on how we perceive our future, which is directly based on our past.
"Thanks, Houlemard" is the caption of my friend's facebook profile picture. It is a portrait I took of him a few months ago, sometime during Portland's rainy winter weather season. When I was warming him up in front of the camera I noticed he wouldn't give me anything other than the face of an disgruntled alcoholic writer. He might as well of been holding a shotgun and telling me war stories of how he has looked lions directly in the eye before killing the beast with his bare hands. The tired, drunk, hunched over a typewriter aggressive look. This is what he wanted to portray, but was failing terribly. He was nervous. I could tell by his slight ticks and trembles his body was making. I stopped shooting for a second to talk to him. These photos are going to be fuckin awesome! When you look back on these years from now, you will be able to say 'I knew EXACTLY where I was in life.' Think of how you want your children, your grand children!! to think of you when they see these photos and you are long gone." He looked at me and paused... then went right back to the writers face. Only twice did he give me an somewhat remotely goofy face that we all know Stephen Person to be.
This past Monday Stephen left us. He was in the passenger seat of a car that was hit by a drunk driver early Sunday morning. This is now my second Portland friend taken from me by a drunk driver. That Sunday night, a friend of mine, who I know from working in the Portland photography industry, sent me a text. Jason is really a close friend of Sarah, driver of the car Stephen was riding in. He knew of the accident and the condition that Stephen was in... the text I read wasn't optimistic. He sent me a text me because he saw my portrait of Stephen on facebook and made the connection that we were friends. That picture...
The 'Houlemard' on that picture is highlighted in blue. It is highlighted in blue because Stephen tagged me when he posted it. Throughout the week I have been getting facebook notifications for comments left by everyone who deeply cared and knew Stephen. Sharing memories of past experiences they have had with Stephen... Sharing their feelings of how they felt about Stephen's death. An open diary that somehow they all were somehow hopeful that Stephen will read one day. I take photos so that I may try to find meaning and significance in my life. Because of the portrait of Stephen, I am experiencing so much of life... so much of what it means to lose a friend.