Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: I Choose Steve

I am the joy in change and movement. — Steve

The Lens-Artists photography group is celebrating their first anniversary. Hosts Tina, Amy, Patti, and Ann-Christine have invited us to choose our favorite photo subject. They chose Friendship, Connection, Imagination, and Discovery as the themes for their respective posts. I have chosen Steve, an undeniable person in my life who has taught me much about friendship, connection, imagination and discovery during the ten years we’ve known each other.

I really do grapple with the balance between these two elements of my consciousness, the thinker and the feeler, the heart and the head. The dance between the two is where good work is done. –Steve (forthelastwolverine.com)

Steve is the owner of Scholar and Poet Books, an online bookstore with listings on Amazon, eBay, A Libris, and ABE Books.

He is an English major, a philosopher, an anthropologist, an environmentalist, a musician, a conversationalist, a film fan, a student and teacher of spiritual psychology, a practitioner of Buddhism, a brother, a son, my housemate, and my friend.

He comes from Polish-German stock and thinks of himself as Slavic and moody.

There are three ideas that I make sure to spend time with every day. If pressed to reduce these ideas to a single word each, I might pick WILD, BEAUTY and ENOUGH. — Steve (forthelastwolverine.com)

I have photographed Steve over the last ten years from many different perspectives. In the span of that time, we’ve related as co-workers, trail buddies, string quartet members, lovers, exes, best friends, classmates, tent mates, housemates, and temporary step-parents to a fur baby named Pinkle.

We share so many memories. (Well, maybe not. My memory is much better than his.) And I have SO many photos. Several albums worth…that aren’t in albums yet. There could be a Steve’s Trail Shot Album, full of photos taken while we were out exploring somewhere. This would be the biggest album.

There could be an album’s worth of photos that might be called Black & White Author Headshots.

There could be a small album of Sleeping Steve…

And Couple Selfies…

And goofy Leftovers.

Here’s what I’ve learned: once you choose to let someone into your life, into your camera, there is so much to know about that person. That choice can have a lasting impact on you and your photo files. 

Choose wisely, friends. And choose friends wisely. I think Steve’s been an excellent choice as a photo subject…and a friend. 

A Day With My Friend

“There’s a giant millipede in your apartment.  And one of the rooms is filled with water.”

Those were the first words out of Steve’s sleepy mouth this morning.  “Say, what?!”  He usually says whatever thing left over from his dreaming thoughts is still floating in his brain when he first wakes up.  He rolled over and closed his eyes again.  I thought about how every day with him is surprising and interesting and genuine.  I told him that I feel very fortunate to have had such a good friend during the past tumultuous 3 years.  I wonder how my grief and recovery would have been different without him.  Would I still be drinking tumblers of gin after work and crying myself to sleep in an empty house?  Would I be knocking on the doors of half-interested acquaintances looking for more attention, more love, more support, parading my needs pathetically about?  I don’t know.  I believe that I wouldn’t have tried half the things I did without Steve or gotten through the necessary bits quite so well.  Steve then asked me what I thought was our best “best friends” photo.  We agreed on these:

The first best friend "self-portrait" I shot of us, holding the camera at arm's length, like a teenager would do

One I took by accident while my camera dangled in my hand during a spontaneous kiss

Today, we’re heading over to Kettle Moraine State Forest where Old World Wisconsin, the living history museum, is located for our back-to-back job interviews.  Ever gone job hunting with your best friend?  I did once before, in college.  My friend had a summer job as a camp counselor, which I thought would be perfect for me.  I went up to interview there and didn’t get offered a job, but I did find a camp closer to home which hired me.  I love the feeling of adventure, the unknown, the “let’s just try this; I will if you will!” daring.   With a friend beside you, it’s a win-win situation no matter what happens.

So anyway, as my mother would say, “Enuff zis luff-making!”  Time to shower and be off!  Life is rich; friends are golden!