Sometimes, life has a habit of getting in the way.
As I was working on the blog that was supposed to appear in this place yesterday, I got a call from someone very close. Now I’m used to getting calls from her pretty much every day, and usually I pick right up. However, it had been storming out, and the call never came through for me to hear it.
On the surface, that wasn’t a big deal, because I’d always call back and she what she wanted. When I rang her back, the voice on the other end didn’t sound like it always did. It was groggy, and the speech was labored at best.
Something was clearly wrong.
In a tone that screamed of being medicated, she told me how during a drive on one of the state roads, she became momentarily distracted, causing her to lose control of her car, flipping it a number of times before it crashed into a pole.
My heart sank, and to be honest with you, I hadn’t felt that helpless in a very long time.
When a thousand thoughts rushed through your head all at once, it’s very hard to think about what exactly to say, or more importantly, the right thing to say at that moment. If I could fly, I would have darted out of my patio like Superman and been there in an instant…but it’s never that easy.
Due to the amount of pain medication she was under, she couldn’t tell me exactly which hospital to come to, but to not worry about it, but how could I not? Turns out she was being released soon, which is always a good sign. She told me not to worry and that she’d call me as soon as she could.
Back at the ranch, I found myself slumped in my chair, with a desire to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Before I could wallow any further, I got a text message from her with a picture attached. Because of the storms in the area affecting everything, it was difficult to get the picture downloaded, but once it did, it was like a ton of bricks came down on my chest with all the force of an elbow drop from the late Randy Savage.
It was a picture she took in the hospital.
The lower portion of her face was a grotesque mixture of black and purple, with her bottom lip nearly three times its normal size. Instantly my mind took me all the way back to 2005, the first time I saw her getting on the C Route bus from campus back to the apartment complex we both lived in. The first time I ever saw her, I was absolutely captivated by her look. Her eyes were like tractor beams, I could never turn away. Her body far exceeded any idol or statue ever carved. It was perfect in my mind as she was perfect.
Somehow we struck up a friendship, and reasonably, I was smitten. How could I not be? I had begged and begged her to shoot with me as the year progressed, but she was never all that into it. Towards the end of the school year, we’d progressively drifted apart from one another until a blow-up over what seems like nothing caused us to not speak anymore.
Then in 2010, roughly four years from when I saw her last, we randomly saw each other again, and it was like none of the arguments ever happened. We were two people with wildly different experiences meeting for what felt like the first time. We started hanging out more, and she took an interest in seeing my work. She decided then that finally, she wanted to shoot.
Now this was someone who had zero experience in front of a camera, at least in the photographic sense, but in our two shoots, I think we put together some amazing stuff (you be the judge). Not only did the shoots go well, but I felt it improved her self-image quite a bit, which only encouraged her to want to shoot more.
We were supposed to be shooting today. Her name is Rachel.
As she sits, surrounded by family and loved ones, let today serve as a tribute to one of the most beautiful women I have ever had the fortune of knowing, let alone the honor of shooting. Look at her face as I do, and know that it’ll be that way once again.
Be safe out there.
As we move towards the long holiday, I’ll be trying to finish up the model tribute posts. I think next week, we’ll move to working on some photographer tributes, and then there will be a bit of a change in things, as we shift focus some to include reviews, critiques and some other things that I think you readers will enjoy.
In the meantime, if you have any feedback, ideas or if you would like to submit a guest post, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.