Friend, fellow photog, and Nikon Ambassador Ami Vitale has always been immersed in making her pictures actually do more than just resonate with the viewer. Her wonderful talents behind the camera produce luminously beautiful images that always have powerful messages, and larger intent. From pandas to elephants to planetary conservation, she frames the world through the viewfinder with the intent of saving it.
She has rallied the Nat Geo photogs of many generations to the cause of Ukraine. Through the Vital Impacts organization, 100% of the funds accumulated through the current flash print sale will go to Direct Relief, which is providing medical aid to that war-torn country. As we all stand horrified at the unfettered madness and cruelty being inflicted, this print sale is a simple way to help.
Hence I got a note from Steve and Melissa Hausz, via Ami, that they acquired the picture of the leaping ballerina in the Cuban kitchen, seen above. They reminded me that years ago, they had bravely come up onstage at a PhotoShop World in Las Vegas to be my portrait subjects.
Getting in front of a camera lens always takes guts, especially so when you do so in front of several hundred people. But they are amazing and lovely people (not to mention terrific subjects) and they pulled off the session with panache. I chose well that day, back in 2012.
I’ve often said that pictures are our footprints. Just like the cave drawings from many millenniums past, they say, simply, “We were here.” Pictures are also intersections, a crossing over of lives, emotions, and indications of time spent, and care taken. Now I’ve had some photo sessions I could better describe as a dead end rather than an intersection, but thankfully, not over many. Most are actually pretty wonderful. In the flash of the lights, a benevolent contract is being formed, born of mutual respect. The subject, placed in a vulnerable spot, facing off with the machinery of a camera, gives you a gift. Their presence, and trust. At the lens, it’s our job to cherish and enhance that gift, and return a wonderful result. Steve and Melissa both say, even now, all these years later, it’s their favorite picture taken of them.
I’m happy to know that I will now have two prints hanging on the walls of their home, and both speak volumes, in their own way. The click of the shutter often becomes a long conversation that spans years and distance.
Upcoming is the home stretch for the Vital Impacts print sale which will end soon. It’s a gallery for good. Astonishing images of the world. Reminders of beauty and humanity, in this time grief and wanton, needless destruction.
I ordered two prints from the sale, one by Jim Richardson, longtime friend and colleague, and author of a quote I am fond of: “If you want to shoot better pictures, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” Jim has spent a lifetime standing in front of exceedingly interesting stuff. And for my wife Annie, a cat lover, the astounding image by Prasenjeet Yadav called The Ghost Cat. The prints arrived with dispatch, and I can personally attest to the wonderful quality of the printing.
Cave paintings, and pictures, remain durable, much like the human spirit.