This is a difficult post to write, but it's been a difficult week for the project. I've shot almost 200 friends now, and it has all been good fun - great to see people, great to catch up on lives and meet families, great to make new friends and rekindle old friendships. I knew that at some point I was going to get into unfinished business territory, I didn't realize it was going to hit in a trifecta this week, nor did I realize how hard it would hit or how emotionally draining it would be.
I had my first outright "no" for a portrait from a friend of 15+ years, something I wasn't at all prepared for, assuming that all my close friends would want to be part of the project, and even if they didn't necessarily want to be, they would anyway because they know how much it means to me, and how it has totally consumed my life. More than anything though, I got this sinking feeling that I had done something wrong, somehow unbeknownst to me I had offended said friend. So, off I e-mailed to try and repair the damage. Luckily, it was just a case of not wanting to be part of the project, but that made me ask myself the question, am I cool with that? I decided I was (at the very least its one less picture I have to make) because friendship shouldn't be based on cooperation with hair brained art projects, its based on mutual respect and trust.
Which leads me to friend number two of 15+years who I did offend unbeknownst to me, but I don't know how and have been trying to figure it out, apologize and repair the damage for the last year to no avail. Since it's been happening for the last year, its not a new event this week, however its his birthday and seeing all of the activity around it on facebook made me really really sad not to be part of it. I love birthdays. It also made me sad because I've spent the last couple of years realizing how important friendship is. This project is a testament to how the people who surround me nurture me and feed my creative process. Especially those people that I have known for a long long time and who are artists, musicians and chefs whose creative lives have had such an impact on my own.
I have a hard edge (my parents might say judgmental, my friends might say bitchy), admittedly. But I've been trying to soften up a bit. I've been reading the Dalai Lama (until we got in a fight about love, I don't know how I'm supposed to love everything equally. I have to love photography the most) and going to forgiveness workshops. I'm trying to be a better person and a better friend, to not get so worked up about dumb shit, and to appreciate life more.
Which leads me to friend number three, Denis, who I photographed yesterday with his kids, Elliot and Toby. Denis and I were bestest friends for many years, we shared studio space and were inseparable - until the falling out. Or as he told me point blank yesterday - until I disowned him. Which, truth be told, is more or less true. We were dealing with some heaving duty friend stuff and I was young and couldn't handle it, so I shut down and disappeared. Portland is a small town, so we have seen each other over the last 10 years, and deep down, I always enjoy running into him and really enjoyed shooting him and the boys (now teenagers!) and catching up. We talked about art and music (he is a composer) and life in general. Thankfully we were able to laugh about our ruff patches and I think start to mend a long friendship. He will correct me if I'm wrong, I have no doubt.
Kate and Matt, making the emotions fade just a little bit.