Triple Grammy Award winning group, Train selected one of my destination wedding images to be featured in a video for their album track 'Marry Me'. You can see this video on YouTube here. For more on this story go to this blog post.
On the 26th March 2010 my uncle, Andrew Jobson, the most resilient and unstoppable man I've ever known, died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was just 52 years old. Today, the 1st of April, my family and several hundred friends and colleagues paid our last respects. An oddly fitting day as Andy really did love his practical jokes.
His untimely passing bought to mind an experience I had last year when I attended a course run by Australian master photographer David A. Williams. David has an extraordinary passion for the power of the photograph and is evangelical in his praise for the true skill of the photographer. If you ever have the opportunity to listen to David's Key Note speech then I recommend you take it. In it (through the use of some truly powerful but simple imagery) he urges us [photographers] to see our profession and practice as much more than just the business of taking pictures. To never underestimate the value of a photograph and to appreciate that a picture can last for a long time and indeed keep the memory of a loved one alive long after their physical form is gone. At the time I was greatly moved by this but didn't truly grasp the power of what he was teaching. Not until my uncle, whom I greatly admired and loved, died.
My uncle loved his golf and had over the past ten years organised many golfing holidays abroad. I had the good fortune to accompany him and dozens of other keen golfers on four of these holidays. From 2003 onwards I took, in addition to my golf clubs, my camera with me. All I was trying to do was document the trip, get a few fun pics. Nothing more. Amongst all the photos I came back with, one stands out, now. Not perfect by any stretch but its emotional value is now priceless. I now understand the true value of a photograph.
So I say to you, my fellow photographers, in the words of David A. Williams "never take for granted that you have all the pictures of your family". And (because I am now a dad) "never miss the opportunity to record yourself with your children for they love you regardless of how you think you look".
This is my uncle Andy. And it is how I will always remember him.
From the funeral order of service -
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you
Whatever we were to each other we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which we always used.
Put no difference into your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes together.
Play, smile, think of me.
Let my name be ever the household word it always was,
Without a trace of shadow in it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same as it ever was.
There is an absolute unbroken continuity.
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
If you still haven't shed a tear, then consider this. My indestructible uncle Andy got to meet my baby daughter just once before he left us and I did not take the opportunity to photograph her asleep in his arms. This beautiful memory will fade. And for that I am truly sorry.
Always remember - no one really dies until everyone who has ever loved them and all the pictures of them are dust. (D. A. Williams)