The people who know me know that I have two distinct sides to my personality. On one side, I’m a fun-loving, laid-back, smiling, laughing, good-timing guy. On the other end is my overly sensitive, “see the beauty in the world,” cry during episodes of West Wing, sentimental fool. While I do get heckled from time to time, often joining in myself, I find that these two sides allow me to be a well-rounded, and ultimately, better, person.
On this blog, I try to keep the topics lighthearted and fun to read, but from time to time, that sentimental fool pops his head out of the little hole he hides in and I start typing away.
Well, kids, today is one of those days. Don’t worry… I’m not sad or depressed; I’m not going to start painting my fingernails black and listening to death metal. But, I do want to reflect on the passing of a friend.
On September 25, 2012, a friend of mine passed away without any warning. His name was Larry Troy and he was a Professor of Sociology at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, a fact that I didn’t know until recently. While this may seem like a small drop of water in the proverbial ocean, Larry was more than just my friend in spirit, but in passions as well; we shared a love for creating photographs and learning new things.
Dedication & Drive
I met Larry at an art fair in 2011, my first year doing the art market scene around Peoria. He came into my booth and we chatted for nearly an hour before he was pulled away; I’m sure he would have talked all afternoon if he was given the chance. We bonded over a mutual love of photography; Larry had only recently started exploring this passion of his.
I urged him to check out the Peoria Flickr Group, of which I am an administrator, and to join us on some photowalks. I didn’t realize that he lived in Decatur, but such was his passion for learning and photography that he quickly became a very active, and welcomed, participant in our monthly walks. He was always asking questions and chatting with everyone he could; he loved meeting new people as much as he enjoyed clicking the shutter button.
It was Larry’s drive and dedication that pushed him to attend two of my 2012 workshops, the first two I’ve ever taken on. You could tell from the smile on his face that he was so excited to be learning new lighting techniques at the Peoria Strobist Model Workshop in May; off-camera lighting was something he never even considered diving into, but there he was anyway.
Life In the Viewfinder
On September 15, 2012, I held my first HDR workshop at Hanna City Work Camp and, of course, Larry made the drive up from Decatur to take part. The one thing I will remember about that day until it’s my time to punch the card is the look on Larry’s face; it’s the same look my students at Bradley University get when I’m teaching. He was young again and knew there was a whole load of knowledge he still had to gain.
Unfortunately, for him and for all of us, Larry didn’t get the opportunity. It’s weird to me to think about being there with him as he captured the last images of his life, but it makes me happy to be able to have shared in that experience with him, one photographer to another.
I’ve often reflected on what my legacy will be, and for any photographer, while the rest of the stuff may disappear or be boxed up, the moments we’ve seen and captured through the viewfinder will always stay. So, in honor of my friend, I wanted to share some of the amazing moments that Larry was able to share with the world before his curtain call.
Here are a few of my favorites from Larry’s Flickr photostream.