Saying Goodbye Sucks.

I don’t like farewells. I don’t like them when they involve people leaving, and I totally don’t like them when they involve someone passing away.

Over this last couple of weeks I have seen a friend I grew up with unexpectedly lose their 8 year old daughter just days away from when they were expecting to celebrate her 9th birthday. I have to be honest and say that I have been hugging my girls a little closer since hearing of this, and I am scared that the pressures of family life and juggling work and play might soon cause me to forget that this time I have with them is so precious.

Today I went to the funeral of a good friend who has navigated the tumultuous turns presented by Bowel Cancer over the last 6 years. You might remember Jared from recent reports in the Media, and the way that he has carried himself through facing his mortality has truly impacted so many people. I first encountered “grown up” Jared back in 2009 (I had known him as a teenager when he came to easter camps that I helped run). I was shooting a Photo-a-day project and when I discovered that he had been diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, I was struck with the realisation that I had never really seen or known what it would be like to face something like Cancer. I asked Jared if I could come and take a portrait and meet up again. As was to be his M.O throughout his journey, he was not afraid to face his illness in the public eye, which I believe was a gift that he offered the world. Here’s the shot from the blog:

After this catchup and photo – Jared decided that Photography might be a new way to capture the journey of his treatment, and provide creative expression that enabled him to spend his “down-time” with an activity that he could lose himself in. I was excited to journey with him and develop a few projects that we threw everything into for a while. This birthed the Collabor:8 project which we shared with 6 other photography hobbyists – as with everything, Jared put everything he had into photography, and provided a new outlet for his Gadget-Hungry nature to pursue. Photography was something that came naturally to Jared, as it leans itself towards analysis and experimentation – learning is fun when you can SEE the results of what you are up to! I loved seeing e-mails pop in to my inbox with ideas about how to process panoramas, how to get smoother timelapse or just getting excited about the whole hobby. I will miss that opportunity to share a common passion – but more than that, I will miss having someone in my life who pursued living so relentlessly. I have said it on many occasions as I have reflected on Jared and Hannah’s journey – but in the face of his own mortality, Jared always chose to LIVE, and not to just exist. This passion for life was infectious and the legacy that Jared leaves to all of us.

I will finish this tribute with this  link to my photos of an afternoon Jared and I spent walking around Kingsland looking for some pics. We would set challenges for ourselves in our photography, and this one was to look for photos with a “black and white” eye… I hope you enjoy!