For the past 14 years, I have a passionate love affair with photography. And I’ve come to discover that I have a fondness with photos that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few of them. Here’s the next installment in my “The story behind an Image” series.
Part 5: This too shall pass
Despite all of its future importance to me, I couldn’t tell you what clothes I wore, what I did at work or what the weather was like on August 16, 2004. But what I can tell you about that day is that someone broke into my apartment and ripped my newfound passion away from me. Thankfully I was at work when it happened. Looking back, I remember walking up the first flight of stairs, then turning to see the door of my apartment. Which was slightly open but with every progressive step, more of the disturbing scene was revealed to me. The sturdy steel frame of the door was peeled back from the wall like an orange and the door itself looked like it was violently punched in by the Terminator. Absolutely dumbfounded by what I was looking at. I remember saying to myself, “What the hell was someone trying to do to my door?” As soon as I walked through the threshold, it was as though a switch was turned on in my brain and I realized what had happened. I got robbed. And that feeling of safety and security at home was instantly eroded.
Walking through my molested apartment, seemingly in slow motion like from a poorly edited B movie. Of all my possessions that was taken from me, my TV, home theater system, it was what I always kept at the foot of my bed concerned me the most, all of my photo gear. Which included my new Sigma 50-500 mm lense, which I had only used once at the Thunder over Michigan airshow a week before. Along with my first DSLR camera, Canon’s Digital Rebel along with two other lenses. Gone. The thought that a person would carelessly force their way into someone’s apartment or house, someone’s home and selfishly take whatever he or she wants, left me rattled to what seemed like forever. I’ve never endured such a feeling of violation in my life.
Feeling shattered and especially vulnerable, I called the local police. To my youthful ignorance, unless you catch them in the act, most break-ins go unsolved. And the only helpful words of advice for getting any of my beloved gear back, would be to check the local pawn shops. The officer told me that most stolen goods end up there, sold for quick cash. I couldn’t imagine the humiliation of going from shop to shop searching for my stolen gear and dealing with the unknown challenges of proofing ownership. I never had the courage to search for my missing gear. I just wanted to get away for that apartment and to move on with my life. At that time, I felt that my passionate love affair with photography was dead and over.
I never stayed another night at that plundered apartment. Oddly enough, the thieves didn’t touch my computer that stored all my precious photos. And thankfully I was able to find a new place to live fairly quickly. After a few months, I was settled in and got back into my work/life routine. During that time, I feverishly saved up enough money to not only replace but upgrade my gear. At the time, I purchased Canon’s new 20D and the 400mm F/5.6L lense. That body/lense combo vigorously rekindle my love affair with photography. I would go on to shoot some of my most memorable photos with them.
I find it ironic that sunsets can be symbolically viewed as an ending of something along with the passing of time and that the final image I took with my Digital Rebel before it was stolen was a sunset. It was the end of one chapter of my photographic journey and after that dark event, the start of a fresh and newly energized one. The image associated with this story was shot two days before that personally devastating day. This disturbing event in my life showed me that most things that we struggle with, are just moments in time. And that with time and patience, we can come to terms with and cope with our hardships and continue on with our lives hopefully stronger and wiser. Similarly, with what’s going on with the world now, “This too shall pass”.