Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Time of Your Life ..

Memories of Jenny - The Time of Your Life (youtube)

As many of you will know, I have another obsession in my life beyond paddling - Photography.

I started out buying a small digital camera for our Dec 2000 trip to the Cook Islands to visit Jenny and Jo's Meditation teacher, Barbara, who had moved there to help setup a refuge for women . We didn’t know a thing about paddling back then.

I had bought the camera hoping I would be able to capture our memories. It was a tiny digital camera by today’s standards, 1 Mega Pixel and it cost $1600 duty free and a 64 MB compact flash memory cost more than $300.

I did not flinch and I thought it was all worth it, as my credit card was swiped at Ted’s Pitt Street Camera Store the day before we flew out. 15 years later I can tell you here that it was one of the best things I ever did.

My motivation for the camera came from that fact that Jenny had 11 tumours in her lungs and I did not really know how long we would have together. In the end we had just over 9 years of married life. Given Jenny’s condition, a miracle really ..

We were married on 30th April of that Sydney Olympic year and we honeymooned on Lord Howe Island for 10 glorious days in May 2000. Jenny had a film camera and she took many photos.

On our return flight to Sydney, I remember a conversation we had at the Departure Terminal with an older couple from Whyalla who congratulated us on our marriage. We had briefly met them at dinner at one of the small restaurants on the Island.

They told us they had been married for many years and the trip to Lord Howe Island was a way of creating another experience in life and expanding their memories. Better than [running a busy business or] sitting at home and watching the Telly, they said.

This conversation and piece of simple worldly wisdom has stuck with me and I remind myself of it constantly. It was my main motivation to buy that small expensive digital camera for our December 2000 trip to the Cook Islands.

I took many photos that trip to Cook Islands, even of the Outrigger Canoes on the shore of Muri Lagoon - we had no idea what they were – who would guess our future.

Shortly after our return, Jenny and Jo found Dragon Boating. And over the ensuing years many experiences and memories were created, dutifully captured by our cameras.

I documented the many dragon boat campaigns here and abroad, and ensuing holidays that followed each event.

In the process of this documenting I came to realise the power of photography, not only its visual power, but its ability to record our experiences and remind us of things we have done and who we were. We were doing selfies before the term was even invented. We called them “Holdouts” and I think this might be the main cause of Jo’s shoulder injury.

In those last few weeks at St George Hospital in Jun 2009, I captured the last moments of our lives together. They are the best I ever made.

After Jenny’s passing, It took me a while to pick up a camera again. I had lost my purpose and will. I was hurting and numb all at once but paddled through for a year or two – it helped a lot to be busy and in the company of friends. New experiences were created and I even smiled [for] a little [while].

Lost in the enormity of what had happened so quickly, though it was not a surprise, I found my first moments of comfort and hope, when I decided to start looking at some of the photos from our lives together. It made me cry, but it also made me smile. I was so happy that I had this archive of bits and bytes to remind me of Jenny, Joanne, myself and who we were.

It was only after Jo told me to organise my photos and my Mum said I should start making photos again, that I started to move forward. I was completely broken but I took up their advice and kept myself busy again, organising and photographing again. I am still broken but I live with it better now, it is part of me and who I will always be, but I am happy, optimistic, naïve and creating more experiences.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that we have to go out there and make our memories through the experiences we create for ourselves.

In our lives we have loss, grief and bereavement. It is a part of living. You make a choice when it knocks on your door. And we have chosen to live in the Afterglow of our loss of Jenny – to remember and honour and be guided and inspired. Accept it and live with it and make the most of it, even let it inspire and motivate you. And that is what Jo and I have done, I would like to think.

“Believe in Hope” as the graffiti’ed wall in Cleveland Street said for a few weeks in July 2015.

Believe in Hope - Cleveland Street / Chippendale (Wed 29 Jul 2015)

Seven year ago today.

We remember Jenny. She (as they all do) lives on through our memories.

Dreams - Andy Webster / Mike Johnstone (Wed 29 Jun 2016)

kaleidoscope - Vivid - Circular Quay (Tue 14 Jun 2016)

Andy Webster on Dreams:

Feelings which are repressed when awake seem to surface in dreams!
via Always Know Where Your Camera Is! by Mike Johnstone.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Being Open To .. - Streetshooter (Wed 29 Jun 2016)

blue / ball - memories of.. - Macdonaldtown (Wed 29 Jun 2016)

Streetshooter on Being Open:

we need to be observant of our vision and our feelings. The photos are out there if you are open to them. People are out there too and we need to be open to them more then anything else.
via Rest Easy Post by Streetshooter.

Not sure why I made a photo of this, but for some reason I could not pass it without taking a few moments to see the beauty in this banal scene.

Who willl? - Bill Cunningham

tree / shadow / red - an old favourite location - Erskineville (Wed 29 Jun 2016)

Bill Cunningham on Who will?:

if I didn't take them [photographs], who would?
via Bill Cunningham Made Me Feel Like a Real New Yorker by Antwaun Sargent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Decisions - Paulo Coelho

tree - Alexandria (Mon 27 Jun 2016)

Paul Coelho on Decisions:

The warrior of the light is terrified when faced with important decisions.

"That is too great for you," says one friend. "Go on, be brave," says another. And his doubts only increase.

After some days of anxiety, he withdraws into a corner of his tent, where he usually sits to mediate and pray. He sees himself in the future. He sees the people who will benefit and lose out because of his actions. He does not wish to cause unnecessary suffering, but nor will he abandon the path.

So the warrior allows the decision to appear. If he must say yes, then he shall bravely say it. If he must say no, then he shall say so without fear.

[Another first day of the rest of my life]

via The moment to decide by Paul Coelho.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Letting Go - Maggie Barrett (Sun 05 Jun 2016)

stairs - Central Park / Ultimo (Mon 06 Jun 2016)

Maggie Barret on Letting Go:

letting go always requires one to feel the pain of attachment. It requires one to head into terra incognito. It also requires one to take responsibility for having chosen to cling to a path of resistance.
via TIME TO BE | Feeling Our Way Around by Maggie Barret