Tuesday, June 23, 2009

February 19, 1928 ~ June 22, 2009

The last few days have been some of the most difficult days of my life.

On June 22nd, we lost a lovely, beautiful, loving and simply amazing woman. Larene Pace, mother to Diane, grandmother to Jordan and mother-in-law to me, passed away and left this world with a void not to be replaced.

I’ve written this post in my head for days now, and as always, what comes out on paper is something less than I would want it to be. But to say that Larene had an impact on my life would be a disservice to the memory of a wonderful and beautiful person. In listening to the stories of the people that knew her well, and those who only knew her briefly, it’s immediately apparent that her presence made everyone better and that everyone was better off for meeting her.

I’ve never been more profoundly sad than I am today. I can’t imagine what we’ll do without her and what our lives will be as we move into the future. It’s the little things I think about, the moments taken for granted that hit me without warning when the vacant spot becomes a gaping hole.

I thought the words would flow for me as I sat down to write this post. But the truth is, that nothing I can say will remotely begin to convey what I feel, what we’ve lost and what Larene meant to all of us. As much as I want too I just can’t seem to get the words to come. The sadness is overwhelming, the emptiness never ending and the grief devastating. The world is a sadder place today without Larene here but we are all better off for having her in our lives and I’m grateful for my time with her.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cuba: Campo Adentro

Since I was a little kid I’ve always had an interest and curiosity about other countries, cultures and people. As with many kids, at least I would imagine, I had a deep affection for National Geographic and the stories it contained. As I grew older the photographs really started to intrigue me and I started wondering how they were made and about the people actually making them.

And Cuba has always been a source of intrigue for me. Growing up in the 70’s it was a place that was seen as a threat to the US, specifically a nuclear threat. Well, at least that’s my recollection. Anyway, it’s a place I always thought of and wanted to go to at some point.

And I did actually make it to Cuba while I was in the Navy. But it was strictly off limits for us to venture outside the base. In essence, while I’ve been on the island I’ve never seen Cuba.

David Allen Harvey has a wonderful book on Cuba that I own and I love it. But I recently received a new book on Cuba by Susan S. Bank and I really love this book.

I first saw images from it in the latest edition of Lenswork. Besides the images, the thing that caught my interest was when she started this body of work. She started this work in 2002, well into her sixties, and it’s a wonderful example of producing great work regardless of your stage of life. As I approach my fifties I’m thinking of this a lot.

The book is top notch in the production department. It’s self published and Mrs. Bank spared no expense on the quality. She’s obviously proud of the work and the book shows this.

The images, at least to me anyway, are edited nicely and it’s quite obvious that she is close and connected to the community she has documented in Cuba. She has taken the time to get to know these people and to really share that knowledge with viewers of her images.

I highly recommend this book. And by the way, it was produced with one camera and one lens all on black and white film. Just a lovely book and I’m glad to have it in my collection.