My father-in-law died Saturday. Ken was a quiet man, a private man, quite the opposite personality of my mother-in-law, Fern. But between them they exposed me to a world of wonder. They changed my life, showing me the richness of experiences available if we open ourselves up, reach out.
They always traveled, often spending months abroad, staying with people they'd met or with friends of friends all around the globe.
Life was meant to be explored, to be tasted and contemplated and shared. She did it through words. He did it through pictures, capturing extraordinary moments in his portraits and landscapes. When people visited, they begged for him to do a slide show of his images, many of which made it into galleries and on Corbis. I think this link to Ocean View, an exhibit at the UCR/California Museum of Photography is still viable.
(The link takes you to the main page. You must click on artists and Ken O'Brien to see his work, I discovered when checking the link.)
Ken gave me my first SLR camera and taught me how to compose photos and how to develop them in his darkroom. He showed me by example that capturing good images means getting out and about, being on the lookout and then being patient, waiting for the right light, finding the best composition.
In no way am I offering these shots on this post as examples. They are just what I found while walking and contemplating his long, well-lived life. And I shot them on the fly with a phone camera--something that would have shocked his meticulous nature.
He was a man who'd always kept himself trim and active, but his health declined and turned him into a shell of who he was. His passing was expected. His friends and family knew it was time for him to bid adieu to this world with all its wonder and pain.The Easter egg party I wrote about recently was an incredible send-off. So many people were there who had known him for years and spent happy days at his home. Normally, he napped a lot in his final days but he sat in his wheelchair for the whole party. I like to think he absorbed all the love that filled that house.
*Anyway, that's why I've been absent from the blog world and will be sporadic in the days ahead as I have many family issues to deal with. I will visit you all when I can. Thank you to the new followers and all who comment. It always means a lot to me.