Spool-a-rama. I was out of film, so last night I spent an hour & filled about 40 cassettes with TMax and Delta, theoretically preparing for my upcoming trip overseas.

This afternoon I tossed one of those Delta rolls into the A-1 and... didn't use it. C & I went to the home of a friend who's suffering from a terminal illness. He was surrounded by family and friends. He is incredibly, painfully weak. I put the camera into the car for the sake of shooting there, but when we arrived I left it under the front seat. It felt selfish to bring the camera into the room, to take away those moments.

While we were there I kept seeing the shots roll by in my mind's eye, the internal mental shutter click-clicking, moments of tenderness and pain, family solidarity and even silliness.

Should I have made those photographs? They're not my family, mostly relatives I'd never seen before. Would the slap of an SLR mirror been too intrusive, inadequately supportive? I can't know. But the sight of our friend's father, lovingly arrangeing his sleeping son's hands, is sure to rest firmly in my memory as one of the most beautiful photos I never made.

August 15, 2003





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