Today was my friend Chris Gulker’s 63rd birthday.
I had the great good fortune of meeting Chris a few years before he died in late October 2010. We had a wonderful routine of twice weekly Tuesday/Thursday 1.5 mile walks around his neighborhood. I’d bring along Lily, our Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and the three of us would make the route together. Lily exploring all of the smells and sounds, Chris and I talking about the tech and photography news of the week. It was just wonderful.
Today is Chris’ 63rd birthday. This image is from October 11, 2010 as he was showing me some of his beautiful black and white prints from his years as a photographer in Los Angeles. Such a gentle man and a great teacher.
Printed in Italy? Not what I might have expected. Maybe printed in Hong Kong, or China, or …? The wonderful new book about Ansel Adams by Andrea Stillman is – yep – printed in Italy. Published by long time Adams’ publisher Little, Brown – I wonder why it was “printed in Italy”? But, that’s just a curiosity.
The book itself is a delight. “Looking at Ansel Adams: The Photographs and the Man” shares Stillman’s insights and perspectives as Adams’ former assistant. She’s selected twenty of his photographs for exploration in the book. “Ten of the twenty are among what I call Ansel’s ‘greatest hits'”, she writes. But she also includes ten others – less familiar Adams’ images. Her scope is just right.
Two years ago this month, my late friend Chris Gulker and I drove south from Menlo Park to take in a unique exhibition of Ansel Adams prints at the Monterey Museum of Art. It was a very special trip for the two of us – Chris was a very talented black and white photographer and he was an avid student of Adams’ work. I walked Chris through the exhibition in his wheel chair – taking it slow and listening to his commentary on each photograph along the way. He blogged about it.
Along the way, we met up with the owner of this exhibition’s “Museum Set” – Adams’ daughter Anne Adams Helms. She was spending a few hours at the museum and enjoyed talking about her Dad. Chris asked about the difference in the way Adams printed his images over the course of his lifetime – and Anne talked about how the prints evolved to be darker late in his life.
One of Chris’ favorite Adams’ images is perhaps his best known – Moonrise. In the book, Stillman tells the story of this image – illustrating the evolution of Adams’ prints as he darkened the image over the years. The print of Moonrise at the exhibition was one of the darker ones – the Museum Sets having been printed late in his life. Chris just loved it – perhaps his most favorite image.
I learned a lot from this trip to Monterey with Chris as we shared our feelings about the special black and white imagery of Ansel Adams. Stillman’s personal remembrances in her new book bring back those memories to me again. A very special work – highly recommended!
We lost my Dad on this day just a year ago – March 11, 2010. In some ways that seems like just yesterday – as we were gathered around his bed in the hospice home. In other ways, it seems like a long time ago – as other memories flood in.
Curiously, yesterday when I was updating iTunes, it brought up an audio notes file from late 2009 that I had recorded on my iPhone at a family get together (his 88th birthday celebration). I had forgotten all about that file! Hearing Dad’s voice again brings back even more of those memories… We miss him dearly!
Yesterday would have been my late good friend Chris Gulker‘s 60th birthday. His wife Linda writes about the day in her blog post – with two great photos of Chris – both with cameras in his hands – he was “always shooting”. He was such a good friend over the last few years.
It’s curious to me how these two days are juxtaposed together – Chris’ birthday yesterday and the day of Dad’s death today. Life is mysterious indeed. March will never be quite the same, I’m sure.
As we’re winding down 2010, it’s quite a rainy and windy Tuesday evening here in Menlo Park.
Just took Lily out for the last time tonight – with blustery winds and sheets of rain coming down. We got it done!
Tonight’s weather sort of summarizes 2010 for me. 2010 was a very poignant year – with the loss of my Dad and my best friend Chris. Yes, life does go on – but I miss them both every day.
Yet, we had lots of good times – a couple of trips to Yosemite (including one special one with David), cooking classes with Chris and Tracy, great family get togethers – and lots of photography expeditions hither and yon.
One of my favorites was the trip that Chris and I took in early September to see the Ansel Adams – Portrait of America exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Arts La Mirada facility. Chris was quite the Ansel fan – and taking the time to walk through this exhibit with him was just wonderful. He blogged about it here.
2010 was also a great year of learning at work with new clients, great projects, and new challenges. We published our first ever book about the US payments systems, expanded our payments education curriculum and expanded our web commentaries. I went to Austria, India and Ireland in 2010 to talk about payments – some fascinating trips! And, naturally, we’re ending up the year being more than fully engaged!
I hope your 2010 was a good one – in spite of the inevitable ups and downs! Let’s try to get together in the New Year and compare notes!
One of the great joys of blogging is looking back at what you wrote. Seems sort of silly to say it quite that directly – but, as with a handwritten journal, a blog captures your current thinking – and, at least at my age (!), you may not quite remember all of those details a year or three later. Having a blog helps you remember – it’s that simple. Sometimes those rememberings bring back floods of unexpected memories…
This evening, after a wonderful family Thanksgiving celebration at my Mom’s earlier today, I took a brief look back at earlier Thanksgivings – as I recorded them here on my blog. Frankly, I didn’t get very far – just to last year – before I was brought up short by the image below – which I had used for my Thanksgiving post from 2009.
As I said in last year’s post, this photo was taken following my regular Tuesday morning walk with Chris Gulker early in Thanksgiving week 2009. Chris and Linda have always had beautiful flowers on their kitchen table – and, when Chris and I came back from our twice-weekly walk and shared coffee, I usually took a photograph of those flowers. Last year’s lilies were especially beautiful – and I used that image for my Thanksgiving 2009 post.
Since I wrote that post a year ago, we lost my Dad, his niece and my cousin Ruth Ann, and Chris. Losing them was hard – yet I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – especially for my memories of the times I shared together with all of them. Good memories. Such good memories. Missing them as I do, life has to go on without them – while they’re always in my thoughts.
Today at Thanksgiving, we celebrated our shared life together across four generations, providing us with renewed sources of joy and thanksgiving for our lives ahead.
Thanksgiving really is the best of all the holidays. The very best indeed. Hope yours was as special as ours!