Parties are where they invite you to take pictures but don’t make it easy. Cluttered locations, poor light, too many folks in tight spaces. I hate battling crowds under any circumstances, but especially when I’m shooting.
So, there I am. At a party. I know one or two people (maybe), and I have to take some pictures. Who are these people? Unless it’s my party … and we don’t give parties anymore … I hope someone will come by to tell me who should be in the pictures.
Looking around. People are talking in groups. Eating. A few laughing. Some loners. People talking in pairs, in groups.
Mostly of the other cameras are big ones, Canon and Nikon. I’ve got the funny little camera, my Pentax Q S1 with its lenses, plus extra batteries and accessories. It weighs less than a standard point-and-shoot. They sneer, but I don’t care.
Parties are stressful. Garry can’t hear in crowds and I can’t remember names. You can tell me your name and within a breath, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” If it happens more than twice, I’m too embarrassed to ask again. I shoot and hope Garry can identify the people in the shot. Later.
There’s always a picture somewhere. Somehow. You have to look for it, sometimes very hard, but it’s there. And it’s better than sitting in a corner demolishing the brownies.
Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away earlier this year.
Our friend was Joe Day. Joe’s name should be familiar to those who’ve lived in New England during the past forty years. He was a highly respected TV news reporter for four of Boston’s major television stations (WHDH, WCVB, WGBH, WBZ). Joe specialized in politics. He covered presidents, governors, senators, congressmen and local elective officials.
But many of us fondly remember Joe’s “people” stories, vignettes about everyday folks living their lives in relative obscurity. That was Joe at his best. On and off camera, he was a modest, plain-spoken guy despite the richly deserved awards he received which recognized his career.
Yesterday, there were smiles and tears as people shared stories about Joe. We were mostly the generation of “old fart” journalists, recalling the days when news wasn’t just a business. Joe Day was at the core of all those memories.
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. We have drifted apart geographically and socially in many cases. Sometimes we paused before hugging because we no longer look the way we did in our “head shot” days.
Joe Day’s family marveled at the size of the gathering. It’s one thing to send an email or video tribute. But to turn out in impressive numbers on a hot August Saturday, that says so much about how Joe touched the lives of people around him.
Fame is fleeting and transitory in TV news. Friendship is another thing. Usually it fades quickly after changing jobs, states and retirement. You always mean to stay in touch but it rarely happens.
That’s what makes the celebratory gathering so special. All those folks bonding in their memories of yesterday when our world was young and Joe Day touched our lives, making each one of us a little better just for knowing him.
Such good friends.