We read, we write, we think, and we form something of a self. We live. We experience other people and events. And our soul is informed. We slowly become individuals, over time. The writer is like a snowball who picks up debris as he/she rolls. We all do. We are all snowballs. But a writer leaves some of that behind.
I have known Craig over the course of many lives. When we met in this one there was a recognition, an unspoken knowing. We are both writers. We take all the webs we spin up in our heads and attempt to arrange them in some form that speaks to other people. This is a difficult undertaking. And a frustrating one. How do I get you to see what I see?
Storytelling is the art of shared imagination. One person has a dream and he/she tries to get another person to see and understand it. The sharing of dreams. Can I put you in my dream? I don’t know. But I try. Photography can be similar. I see something in the world, a face say, and I attempt to show it to you as I see it. For a momen...
For our first photo session we met at Limantour Beach in Pt. Reyes. It was a bit overcast but that’s the most magical time on West Marin beaches so what we captured was really pure magic. That day was all about movement.
For our 2nd session we met at Ring Mountain which was where this photo was taken. That day was all about stillness.
Eugenia is probably the most comfortable person in her own body I’ve ever met. During our time together I felt I was with someone I had known for years. Her energy is so grounded and open. I had to do an ODE for her because what she does is so interesting and unique. And I like how she talks about our bodies as carriers of stories. As a storyteller that resonates with me.
I don’t have any trauma to work through but if I did I’d work with Eugenia. Not that that’s all she does. But she is indeed a safe place to rest and feel seen and heard. What I’m hoping is that this ODE might help her to help others.
Sometimes we tell stories with words and sometimes we tell...
Sometimes people ask me to do an ODE for them, and sometimes I ask them to allow me to tell their story. Such was the case with Edward who, after 28 years as a San Francisco firefighter, had stories to tell.
I couldn't possibly squeeze all his wisdom and experience into one ODE so I chose what I thought were the salient points from his interview and created an 'overview', a short summary of who he is. That's all an ODE is supposed to be.
Since he won't toot his own horn allow me to do it for him. Edward is a kind, giving, caring person who embodies love and respect for life. This is the face you want to see looking back at you through the smoke.
Just look into his eyes and you'll feel him. He's the real deal. I chose that photo because it moves me the most.
What I learned from doing his ODE (because I always learn something) is that fear is the thing that holds us back, and that you can choose how you deal with your fear. It's a timely lesson for me and I have to believe that Edward came t...
It begins with an image. And the location we choose is almost always an intuitive guess. In my mind it has to have some thematic relevance but also offer an opportunity for interesting curves, texture, shadows, light. The photograph I ultimately select says something about the person, but it also acts as a palette that will contain a story.
Taft here had just graduated high school and was going off to college back east. And we wanted this to be a tribute to her spirit and to her life. Just below the surface we see more. And only through one’s willingness to explore, to want to know, can we truly absorb a story. Here she stands, exuberant, above the city that helped make her who she is. She’s wearing the cool pants she made. And she’s ready to take on the world.
This ODE is dense. There’s a lot to explore here. Some words are large and thus easy to read upon first glance, others are small, requiring further exploration. This is intentional. I have always imagined ODEs as interactive maps...
This man came into my life through a friend who has since passed on and he is but one of her many gifts to me. I have long wished to do an ODE for him. He’s fascinating, and genuine, and one of the rare ones - a talented human being who walks his talk. Everett Harper is the CEO of Truss (https://truss.works/) the company that saved Healthcare.gov and that builds the foundational infrastructure of so many prominent web brands. But he’s also a father, a chef, a writer, a champion soccer player. When you’re with him you feel like the most important person in the room. He listens, He holds space. And that’s what we need in our leaders. That and a healthy dose of humility. That James Baldwin quote says it all.
Shalaco was(is) exactly the kind of person I envisioned ODE for - he’s interesting, he has a great story, and he has a cause. The San Francisco Land Trust.
The San Francisco Community Land Trust is a bastion of hope and rationality in a city of exorbitant rents. The SF Land Trust brings all community stakeholders together – bankers, lawyers, the Board of Supervisors, and residents – to not just help keep people in their homes, but to provide those who could never afford to own outright share in the dream of home ownership.
Shalaco, an artist, photographer and concerned San Franciscan is the Board President of the SF Land Trust. He is but one of the passionate members of this community of change-agents that is making a positive impact on a City in the midst of an epic housing crunch.
Shalaco is but one face among many who are taking action to help people become vested in a city marginalized by a tech boom that is pushing more and more families into the streets. He is a millennial who bucks...
I wanted to do an ODE for Brandon because he’s a really good guy. And I wanted to know more about him. The ODE process lets me dig a little deeper into a person’s story. If I can convey it to you, I learn something by default. And that’s how this whole thing got started. Because I wanted to tell people’s stories. Not the whole story but enough to get a sense of who they are, what they’re made of. Could I distill a person’s experience and philosophy down to a few basic truths? Maybe. Sometimes. But regardless, I could at least hope to depict someone with dimension, and depth. The whole point of ODE is to humanize people in an increasingly dehumanizing world.
I don’t wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable. If I do an ODE for you it’s because I admire you and I want the world to see what I see. Some of these first ODEs have been for strangers and others for old friends. Chris isn’t an old friend, but he’s a friend, and certainly no stranger to me.
He lives in Japan so I don’t see him much but we talk from time to time. And he’s doing something amazing - he’s running an independent games studio and doing really great work. That’s something I tried and failed so I understand the challenges of the endeavor.
His motto is be kind, try hard, build things. He didn’t tell me that was his motto, but he did say that those are the three things he imparts to his children. Kindness, perseverance, and creativity. That’s got all the makings of Latin creed. A quick run through Google translate yields:
indness, perseverantia et proprii ingenii.
My hope is that by reading this, and reading his ODE, you get a sense of the person behind the name. I think that’s im...