Friday, July 30, 2010

What Barry made me think of

Er, lots of things!
Lots of different things.

For many years I never put people in my photographs. I would wait patiently even in crowded places for people to get out (out!) of my picture. I considered myself an observer of landscape and still life and nature, which I am, but this was to the exclusion of people. Family & friend photos were one thing. But on my travels I never wanted strangers in the scene.
I started to reconsider this on my own, but it was really Barry who encouraged me, by his example of taking great pictures full of people and showing them and talking about them, to start including people in the photos I take of places I go. Without the people of the scene, after all, you don’t have the whole scene. Towns and cities and most parks are made by and for people, are lived in by people. Who cares about another shot of some building, without the people that give that building meaning? I’m glad Barry helped me figure that out.
Unpeopled photos still have their place, and a big one. But I don’t avoid people any more (though I do still rarely take photos of identifiable individuals unless I know them).

See, the Washington Monument is about the people.

Barry made me think of the Friday My Town Photo Shootout, and inversely. He’s the one who introduced me to it, way back when. At the time I hadn’t really looked at my new neighborhood (or the people in it!), and the early shootouts were a reason to go out and discover some other aspect of it.

My town having its Sunday Market.

A bridge meant for people. As most bridges are!

Today the Shootout is different. Maybe I’m just getting to the end of my time it (after about 65 posts, some of which I forgot to index), or I’ve covered the theme before, or I’m not as comfortable in a larger group of bloggers that I haven’t connected with personally. Used to be, I couldn’t wait for Friday, to read what marvels Barry, and Mark, and the others had come up with. But then Barry got too sick, and Mark has had other concerns, and while I still look forward to Fridays it’s not with my past enthousiasm. Every Shootout makes me think of Barry. What would he have to show us about Feet? I imagine he might have shown us Lindsay’s feet, before and after a run along the lake, neatly groomed, flying in a blur, wet, clotted with mud. There would be a hilarious story, of course. Or maybe something completely different. You never knew.

I miss Barry's Lindsay posts. They inspired me to experiment with a whole blog told from a different character's point of view.

Barry made me think harder about what it would mean to be a patient here at the hospital, rather than an employee. He made me feel badly about the condition of our run-down old building. Totally merited! It’s a mess. Nobody in their right mind would want to come here, especially when they’re sick and waiting for their appointment. We’re working on it (as you may have seen in previous posts), but it made me be more aware of my own part of it, and to get at my team to keep the space looking as nice and professional as we can, especially in times like these when the people coming for genetics consultations have to literally cross the laboratory to get to their appointments. A photo tour of the lab is here.

And not just the space, but our behavior. No arguing, no goofing off, no surfing Facebook. Normally, I tolerate a certain amount of goofing off and chatting. Our bodies follow 90-minute attention cycles, and it’s better for the day as a whole to take 5 minutes every hour and a half. There’s no point in cracking the whip if I’m just going to lose the good will of my team; we (most) all prefer and work better in a more relaxed environment. Just not too relaxed in front of the people who have been waiting 6 months for their genes to be sequenced! Barry made me think of these things more than I usually do, and I don’t mean to be negative about it. It made us grow, and be better.

Part of our waiting room, with cat.

Barry became a dear friend in the two years I knew him in the blogosphere. I was hoping to get to Toronto to meet him and Linda in person, but we just ran out of time. He'll always be in my thoughts.

For fellow Friday Shooters, visit here.



Argent said...

This was one of your best posts, in my opinion. I actually prefer shots with people in them to give context and scale. I love candid, busy shots. These ones of yours are very appealing. We lost a good blogging friend, Dr John, from our Wordzzle mem earlier this year and I still miss him. It's strange, our capicity to connect is so great that we will try and connect with people we have never even seen in the flesh, epople we only know from their words and pictures.

GingerV said...

Maybe one true thing we can do for Barry is to make sure we keep Linda close. She was quieter but a force to be recond with this past year.

I also have begun to add people. but I try to get whole people no elbows, bald heads, just the nose.... and yes even though I always have let people in, now I enjoy it.

April 30 was Barry's last comment on my blog - but I would go back to his over and over to read his comment to the comments to his commnet on his blog. the very best ability to connect on a personal level to us all.

don't give up on FSO - just do your own thing - I am at 72 or so and yes starting to repeat - repeat. but I say what haven't I said - and do another.

Titus said...

That really was a fantastic post, NanU. Thank you.

Ann said...

I am touched. We all knew he was suffering. Cancer is such a terrible thing. I like to thing that Barry is released like a balloon.
Thanks for suggesting this tribute. So sorry for Linda.

Tabor said...

Barry will always be in hearts and minds, even those who stop blogging.

Sarah said...

That was beautiful..how you showed what he had offered you...the gift he gave you. He will be so missed by all..clearly by you hon.
I know myself back at the beginning of the year..I lost a very dear friend here on the blogs..I was very close to her. For a while it just didn't seem the same...to even blog. I hope you will keep posting with the group..even though it has changed a bit ... I for one always love to see what you offer up!!
Truly, Sarah

Sara Williams said...

Barry was a person who made you think... He inspired and gave confidence. Greatly missed. Cancer is a pig of a disease sadly something that he and I shared.

Kerry said...

This is such a deep and thoughtful post about how one person affects another. Barry was so good at leading the way, and good for you Nan, to think about what he said and did in terms of your own life and workplace.

I hope you don't completely back out of FSO; I always look forward to the little window into your part of the world that you offer on Fridays.

Gordon said...

Hello, Nanu. It is good to see you and "pinky" again. Thanks for the great tribute. Drop me a line when you can. God bless.

J9 said...

I get the aspect of burn out, and with many of the originals not really posting FMTSO isn't the same. I haven't found my love for it like I did, but I still do look at the themes and think about shooting on those every week.
Thank-you for a touching tribute, and the suggestion in the first place!

gégé said...

your post made me feel sad . I'm here if you want to speak. I understood what you mean and agree whith this. Don't forget we are friends before being colleagues.

Pauline said...

Thanks for this topic, Nan. You certainly did it justice. It was lovely to read how Barry impacted on your life. Please don't leave FSO, your perspective is always so fresh and unique, you really add so much flavour to my Fridays. But it's about you, not me, and I'm sure you will do what is right for you. Thanks for this lovely tribute to Barry.

Rachel Fox said...

As others have said, a smashing post.

Doreen said...

Barry had such an impact on all of us NanU. and he is right! the photos do look better with people in them. it shows life and living. wonderful tribute to Barry.

NanU said...

Thank you for the comments.
As for continuing FSO, I will when the mood strikes me. I admit it's a real ego-booster to have a dozen comments. If only my other posts garnered such interest! The ones on bullfighting, the Kagan confirmation, things that matter to me: I'd feel I was really communicating something worthwhile if I generated conversation with those.