Webley, Palmer and Gaiman (aka Favorite Photo of 2011)


Throughout any given year I shoot thousands of photos, so when I was recently asked which one was my personal favorite of 2011, I had a difficult time answering. However, when thinking about it over a couple of days, the one above kept jumping out at me.

On 11-11-11 I documented Jason Webley‘s concert at The Moore in Seattle. That was where I caught this moment in time. Webley is talking about the virtues of love, while Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer sit together behind him, listening.

There is a love story there, and it starts with a look of genuine happiness on Jason Webley’s face, as he looks up into the light, sharing his joy with (and for) the audience. Amanda Palmer represents that audience to me, relaxed, attentive and having a good time, and Neil Gaiman ties the story together, looking down at his wife with complete adoration and a smile that says simply: “I Love You.”

There is enough intimacy in this photo, that I felt a little like a peeping tom as I put it through post processing, like I was crashing a private party. I actually had to remind myself that it was taken at a public event. That is why this is my favorite photo of 2011. It makes me feel like giving my wife a kiss, putting on some good music and take pleasure in the little things in life.

Click on the photo above to view a larger version.

The Year of Good People

2011 will never be my favorite year, but if there is one recurring theme that is good, it’s the people.

A year ago I was back in Denmark for the first time in half a decade to experience one last Christmas with my mother. My mother had aggressive Cancer and died on the following Mother’s Day. This is the experience to which all other experiences of 2011 are compared, at least in terms of personal impact. If you have lost a loved one, I don’t need to say more. If you haven’t, then good for you.

It was the toughest year of my life, so far. After my mother passed away, my wife got hit with Cancer. Major surgery was followed by radiation treatments. The last of which will be over just before new years eve. My mother was going through treatments a year ago, but it wasn’t enough for her. In Kelly’s case, they caught the Cancer early. Things are hopeful, as well as painful.

I have spent a lot of time being a caregiver this year. It continues to be my most important job, until Kelly is well. It’s rewarding because I get to take care of someone who is extremely important to me. And sometimes it is incredibly hard for that very same reason. But life is not all bad.

When the stress of medical bills started piling up alongside the health related anxiety, two friends we have never even met started a benefit drive, and in less than 24 hours the bills were taken care of. Elizabeth and Ryan, I cannot thank you enough for what you did, and the same goes for the hundreds of people who showed their support.

My personal project – Another Passion – started out strong and took a back seat when Kelly’s health went down hill, but not before Lily had signed on as the first regular contributor. He work has been crucial and kept me at least a tiny bit responsible and on task.

Two comedians, Paul and Storm, have provided more awesomesauce in 2011 than they are probably aware of. Twice, they let me come take pictures of them performing. They even made me part of the show. You know you’ve had a bad year, when one of the highlights is tripping over a hole in the stage floor, interrupting Wil Wheaton mid story in front of a packed venue of laughing nerds. I had a blast that night. And at the other Paul and Storm gig, I took pictures of Hank Green – who liked them so much, he put several in his new album, Ellen Hardcastle.

Good people have carried me through 2011, and no one more so than Kelly. In spite of her own ordeal, she has remained loving and supporting of everything I do – no matter how scattered my efforts or lacking my follow-through. I am lucky to have met her, and I treasure every day we have together. She is amazing.

Looking back at the year 2011, I feel blessed by having met, worked and played with many kind, inspiring people. Many, many more than I could ever name in a blog post. I also feel closer to my wife than ever before. So I guess, even the awfulness that is Cancer is not without a bright side. That said, I will be glad to see it gone.

Here’s to a healthier, happier 2012 for all!