Sometimes you have to do these things for yourself
Birthdays should be a big deal, in my opinion. Think of it as your personal holiday, a celebration not only of the fact you were born but that you somehow managed to survive another year, a task that doesn’t get any easier as one gets older. To make it this far, we’ve had to survive storms, floods, fires, accidents, injuries, and disease. The past two years, we’ve had to fight off the coronavirus, leukemia, hypertension, anxiety, and diabetes. While in the moment, none of these fights seemed especially herculean. Just another day. Looking back, though, I am sometimes surprised that, woah, we’ve made it to birthday #61.
I wanted to do something big this year. Since I’m putting down the camera (for the most part) at the end of the year, I wanted to do something memorable, something a little different. Some of you who’ve been around for a while might remember the big shoot we did nine years ago. For those with a faulty memory, or who weren’t paying attention, let me remind you of that event.
See how much younger I looked then? Sadly, I’ve not seen several of those sweet people since those shots were taken. Many have moved away, had children, started totally new lives that don’t involve standing around naked in front of my camera. Such is the way life goes. Most of them are happier and that’s what counts.
But I wanted to do it again, only bigger, and different: not as many models, more body shapes, and hey, why not toss in some guys this time around. The more I thought about the idea, the more I knew I would need help making this one happen. I reached out to my friend Meghan who seems to know almost everyone or how to get in touch with them. We sat down over coffee and planned how to make the last couple of months of shooting worthwhile, including a particularly large shoot for my birthday.
You know, today.
Ultimately, we settled on interrupting a regularly scheduled photo event at Focus On Studio in Carmel. The event draws plenty of people who have little hesitancy toward getting naked in front of cameras. We asked them to pose for two pictures: one in sleepwear (however they choose to define it), and the second, nude. I wanted to have even more people this time around than nine years ago but knew that could be a challenge. It’s always an issue with these things that some people who want to be there can’t make it. Things happen.
I was pleased with the turnout, the eagerness with which people participated, and the fact that this year’s photos look a lot different than those nine years ago. Sure, there are still people I would have liked to include, but I’m not unhappy about the results. My world has changed significantly from nine years ago; it’s only fitting that my birthday photos would as well.
So, here they are, the last large-group photos, for my birthday. My thanks to Meghan and everyone who participated. Happy Birthday to me!