My son and I flew out to Minneapolis to see my dearest Uncle who has been - and is currently - battling cancer for the past year and a half. A year before this roll of film was shot we went out to see the fall leaves as well, and to take pictures. I was secretly hoping he would be feeling well enough to be able to go on a photoshoot again this year, this time just the two of us - to spend one last time together, sharing in our love for photography and natural beauty and the awe and majesty of it all. So I packed my favorite 35mm camera and a roll of 36 exp. Just in case I was fortunate enough to have this time with him. I wanted the photos to be film photos and to shoot an entire roll with him during my visit to MN - like a small testament and expression of my love for him; the joy and gratitude for the life that I have spent with him. Never have I cried while shooting before this roll of film. Longing for things to be different, to not have to say goodbye so soon.
We went out again this year, just the two of us in some of the same spots - and there was such a stillness and peace, a quiet and a holy feeling. I have been so humbled by the strength and resilience of my sweet uncle - the positivity and joy and the lightness of being he has had throughout it all.
I didn't finish my roll while out with him shooting that day, so I brought my camera home to LA with half a roll left, and not sure what to do. Shortly after we got home from MN, my uncle fell really ill and was admitted in to the hospital. We facetimed the day after he was admitted. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Say goodbye to someone I love so much, and tell them how much you'll miss them -- words cannot adequately express the experience...he has since gotten a little better and is now in hospice.
My Uncle loves sunsets and has become quite famous for his sunset shots that he has taken over the years. I've loved sunsets deeply as well, and after I got off the phone with him I decided I was going to drive out to Malibu and watch the sunset for him and shoot the last half of the roll as my sort of goodbye to him in a more adequate way than I find words would ever be able to do.
And I went off by myself at sunset with my camera to say goodbye to my Uncle. Throughout I said prayers, and held him ever so full in my heart, and the sunset was beyond beyond...so deep and bright and rich and powerful; the hardest part was when the sun hit the horizon and soon would be gone - I was holding my breath; it was really hard, but I shot the entire descent. And then I realized that the sky was even more beautiful with the sun below the horizon, with the gifts of its rays, and glory and splendor carrying on after the sun's disappearance. And then I felt peace and relief and I felt those rays and colors are my Uncle, now always and forever the sunsets will be and will always remind me of him - His radiance and gentleness, graciousness and joy will forever be with us, powerful and magnificent.