And then there is Jim. When I got my very first 35mm SLR (which I still have BTW) he would tolerantly let me “take pictures” of him anytime anywhere! Early morning even before coffee (yikes!) or, more formally, as I attempted to practice the finer points of portraiture.
As well as having almost infinite patience for these artistic quirks, Jim was a very handsome guy, – it was impossible to take a bad photo of him. For years I mistakenly attributed all those good photos of him to my emerging photographic talent, and I coasted on this grand deception for ages until, over time I actually did become a pretty good photographer. (And it wasn’t till much later a portrait pro pointed out the various flaws in my subsequent portrait photos, that I came to know the embarrassing truth – my early success was a fluke and the beauty was all Jim and not me.)
There’s more to life than photography though, and my patient subject and I eventually went our separate ways. But in the ensuing years there was never another person as willing to indulge my whims for creative spontaneity, so I did not improve my skills in photographing people. I did however find an abundance of other “good natured” subjects in the great outdoors. And nature photographer I am to this day.
Yes, Jim’s is a complicated legacy, but if I ran into him tomorrow the first thing I would do is snap his photo! (well maybe not the very first thing!)