All Good Things….Part Two

Hang a Colostomy Bag on That Guy and That’s What I look like

Yes, I know I posted recently indicating I wouldn’t be posting again because I was dying. Obviously, that was a lie, because here I am posting again, clearly not dead. Let me be honest: yes, I am dying. Big time. Stage 4 metastatic stomach cancer, last they looked it was everywhere; I’ll spare you the details. Latest prognosis is +/- 6 months. Because I’m on hospice (go home and die) I get to take all the narcotics I want, which is great. Still. sitting around waiting to die can be boring…so I figured I’d post some more.

After my last emergency surgery, I started leaking incredibly disgusting things from my abdominal surgical incision. This led my doctors to tell me to get my affairs in order, preferably in 3 to 5 days because that’s about as long as I had. I had a massive infection in my abdomen and would die of sepsis in short order. So I did what anyone would do in that situation: I notified my friends, took to bed, and waited to die. People literally flew in from around the world to say goodbye. One exceptionally dedicated friend caught a plane from Thailand to Paris and then to me, all in 36 hours. Others came from everywhere. Basically, we had a party. I sat in bed, people came and went, some crying, some laughing, some just sort of shell-shocked. After a day or two my dying vigil became a ribald party: my French friend had brought an exceptional bottle of Calvados (my favorite), my BIL brought some fancy bourbon I’m sure he overpaid for, and we sat around telling tall tales and funny jokes. My favorite was the story of a friend who got drunk, rode his motorcycle home and woke up with his helmet still on and an empty box of cat food in his hand. He has a vague recollection of thinking he was eating chocolate.

And then I didn’t die. Eventually everyone flew home, but not before I had some of the best days of my life. Lot’s of crying, lots of laughing, lots of real love given and received. It was all a great gift, to be a part of your funeral.

The doctors are totally stumped. Now, they say, I’ve got 6 months max.

*************

I’m posting to thank all of you who commented on my “All Good Things Must End” post. Your kindnesses really moved me. Frankly I had no idea so many people enjoyed the blog and got something out of it. In retrospect, I do think it is unique – not meant to be anything other than an interesting discussion about photography, often with a Leica bent. Much of its interest were the comments made by readers, almost invariably thoughtful reflections on what I’d written.

I’m not sure a blog like Leicaphilia has much of a future. Photography as a practice as changed so much, as has the function of photographs in current culture. Technical competence is a non-issue. Arguments about megapixels and dynamic range are a thing of the past. The jewel-like, stand alone matted and framed print is dead. Hopefully, the next generation will retain the aesthetic and intellectual capacity to appreciate that one imperfect print that, in spite of its technical and classic aesthetic shortcomings, can still profoundly move a viewer.

16 thoughts on “All Good Things….Part Two

  1. Rob Campbell

    You reap what you sow: clearly you have sown some good seed in your time. Long may the reprieve last, and yes, photography has indeed changed, and at an accelerated pace, recently.

    This isn’t just in the technical sense, but in its relevance to life in general. Perhaps worse, I find that my own attitude towards it has drifted into what I guess is a kind if indifference: I haven’t shot an image in months, and just the other day I realised that I have probably forgotten much of the automatic response I once enjoyed with Photoshop: the first few minutes with a file would be an exercise in trying to bring back that autopilot that once lived inside my head. Of course, the longer that I desist, the worse it’s gonna get, but motivation…

    For you – or anyone else who enjoys images, try this Spanish blog:

    http://www.losgrandesfotografos.blogspot.com

    You don’t need to speak Spanish to enjoy the content; indeed, it’s mainly a long classified listing of important international photographers. Check out the five parts to the Italian neorealism school, for example – it shoud interest all those who enjoy street photography.

    Each section is abundantly accompanied with photographs.

    Best –

    Rob

    Reply
  2. Brian Sweeney

    You have an amazing attitude, and that is keeping you going. Glad you got to party big time, and glad I checked back here! I would not write off Leicaphilia either. I’m seeing a number of people expressing interest in using something more than a cell phone. I put together a Nikon F3HP and a couple of lenses for a friend that has never shot film and wants to start.
    Colostomy Bag- my daughter had a total colectomy when she was a toddler, had to wear one for 18 months. It scared her, until I started making it talk to her. “Mr Bag”. Whatever works, right? Being an engineer, I made some improvements on longevity of the seal.

    Reply
  3. Bill Barendse

    Here’s to 6 months stretching onwards. Cheers. Btw, no one seemed to notice you had posted on 22 August, HCB day :). There are still photos that move or inspire even if they are voices from the past. I hold them dear. I’m sure I’m not alone.

    Reply
  4. Rob Campbell

    A propos of the above “indifference” towards photography: it requires a little clarification. I meant regards shooting pictures myself. As I can’t any longer access the stuff I love, I know what I can do is mere substitute, so hardly worth the bother. But, on the other hand, my appetite for images is as strong as ever it was, and almost all my online time is spent researching them.

    It’s amazing what good stuff turns up – mostly fairly old, but still wonderful!

    Rob

    Reply
  5. Dogman

    Well, damn! It’s gettin’ to where ya caint even depend on a guy to die like he was supposta, you old SOB! Buncha witch doctors dancin’ round in their grass skirts ’bout as reliable as your medical team. Where’d they get they diplomas, prize in a cereal box?

    Despite the inept physicians, I’m glad you’re still around. I keep coming back here frequently for some reason and today it paid off. You’ve been a glow in the darkness so try to keep the lights on, okay.

    Praying for miracles….

    Reply
    1. Leicaphila Post author

      What does a guy with a 6 month shelf life do with his time? I’m sick of reading and I can’t watch TV. I’m thinking I’ll start a “Photo a Day Till I Die” project that my estate can print up cheaply in a spiral bound format and offer directly through HP Mag.

      Reply
      1. Keith Laban

        Good to hear the shelf life on the packet was a misprint!

        Yup, a Photo-a-Day would be something I’m sure all here would love to see at some point. Sure beats winging about change and how things ain’t what they were, as if this was in some way unexpected.

        Tim, the thing that I’ll miss most here will be your images. Go on, treat us to some more while you can.

        Pretty please.

        Reply
  6. Takeshi

    Tim, I am so surprised and am happy to see your post again. This is amazing. Let’s keep on going as further down the road as we can!

    Reply
  7. Andrew Molitor

    Well tits is awkward. What the hell are we all supposed to do? Standing around, scared to look, “is he dead? Goi check! Fuck you, you check!”

    I’m glad, though. I’ll write a review of car sick that you can actually read, if we’re all a bit lucky

    Reply
  8. Dan Kapsner

    I checked death notices for you and you never showed up, and here you are. I am delighted to find you not dead! My hope for you is to have whatever fun you can muster, for as long as you can, and to savor the depth of feeling you have experienced during your tribulations. And to continue to share it. It is a rare gift to receive it.

    Reply
  9. Rob Campbell

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HhHngQhBF88

    The above explains a great deal that some may not really have known about the state of photography today.

    So yeah, Tim’s totally correct in his take on where the medium had started to go, and is increasingly rapidly headed today.

    The last interview with Peter Lindbergh (that I was able to discover) saw him pretty much announce his utter disillusionment with the status quo, and his intentions of creating for himself a different pathway ahead. Sadly, we’ll never be able to follow it now, any more than was he.

    Back to the link for a second: the speed with which real stock photography success for a friend of Milnor’s was crushed is a massive lesson. It should also serve as a warning to anyone else contemplating the genre: don’t allow such ideas to get in the way of the innocent enjoyment that photography can bring if you don’t permit money to join and ruin the relationship.

    Reply
    1. Keith Laban

      My snip… “don’t allow such ideas to get in the way of the innocent enjoyment that photography can bring if you don’t permit money to join and ruin the relationship”.

      I couldn’t agree more.

      Images put food on my table for all of my working life, but that monetary necessity, alongside the fact that the work was always essentially meeting other folk’s needs certainly dulled the enjoyment. I was and still am never happier than when making images for no other reason than to satisfy the obsessive compulsive need to do so. Perhaps this explains my general disinterest in the commercial output of image makers whilst being fascinated by their personal works.

      Reply
      1. Rob Campbell

        Indeed; had I known then what I learned too late, the many trips Ann and I made by car between Spain and Scotland wouldn’t have see their pleasure diluted by my insistence on carting tripods, film bags and a bunch of cameras along with us in a vain attempt to outdo the French stock guys within the same agency. Fool that I was to spoil it all, especially so late in our day.

        You were right to avoid the Caveman: subsequent visits to sites dealing with the species proves, to me at least, that what one can’t buy new is still beyond one when bought used – perhaps the bills even worse than in the case of buying new, where there is at least a minimum guarantee!

        😉

        Reply
    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Don’t get your hopes up, Henry. I’m living on borrowed time….and I’m bored. So I figured I’d start posting again until I’m not able. What could it hurt?

      Reply
      1. Jeremy

        After reading part 2 it felt like someone was talking from beyond. So pleased to know you are still around. After reading part one I shot into town to buy a condolences card to post old school half way round the world to those that remain. Only reason it’s still sitting on my desk I was having trouble finding what to say,just as well. Yes I can see how comical it can become. Anyway great to now you are here Tim

        Reply

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