Blog

Tanner Family Aloha

When I photographed the Tanner family last Sunday, the parents and two kids had just returned from a Hawaiian vacation. I have known Nicole since we both attended UC Santa Barbara (more than) a few years ago. Now we both live about three miles from each other in the Bay Area. While I was taking pictures, I kept thinking about the different definitions of the Hawaiian word “aloha.” It means hello and good-bye and something in between. I think that also describes my relationship with Nicole and her family. We keep showing up for each other. I expect that it will always be that way… some cosmic Aloha.

 (bryan farley)Here is the slideshow again from the December 2014 photo visit.

Two years ago, I photographed the Tanners the first time shortly after they moved from the Central Coast. You can find the slideshow in the post.

 

 (bryan farley)

Sometimes I think I am a good photographer. It happened again after I began viewing the photos from last weekend. I loved the pictures… and then something happened. I realized that I loved the pictures, because I loved the people I photographed. At one point, I let the two girls use my camera and they took some pretty good photos too. The youngest person took one of my favorite photos of Nicole.

2014 Tanner Family Portraits-1207141512

People often ask me for advice. I am a photography teacher. I know how to use a camera. I understand aperture and shutter speed. I know more technical stuff than most photographers. I also know the important stuff, like how to hold a really smelly chew toy while a kindergarten girl is using my camera to take my picture.  I took this photo with my smart phone. Is that my secret?

2014 Tanner Family Portraits-8499

Maybe I just really love photography, which is not so much a criticism of my ability, as it is a description. Did I tell you that the dog toy smelled really bad? Did I forget to mention that it was more than worth it?

 (bryan farley)

Today is 12/13/14. It is Taylor Swift’s birthday. I started thinking about Taylor as soon as I saw the little pink guitar (or ukulele)… or maybe when Nicole flashed the “gangster of peace sign” that I associate with Taylor Swift’s “22” video. Of course, if I am truthful, I think about Taylor Swift daily. Aloha could mean Shake it Off.

 (bryan farley)

I hope that I can photograph the family every two years. When I return, I want to step on the same welcome mat. Until then, I want to remember that I have arrived … every day, everywhere.

 (bryan farley)

EFNC 2014 Candlelight Gala Dinner

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good

Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

 

 (bryan farley)

In Oz

When I arrived for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California‘s 2014 Candlelight Gala, I noticed that I was “In Oz.” This was not the first time that I had walked into Oz. I have written about epilepsy and Oz earlier this year. In 2013, I discussed how having epilepsy felt very much like living In Oz. I am not the only person to make this connection. The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota completed their 31st Camp Oz this summer for youth with epilepsy. For some people, there is no place like home. For others, home feels like Oz.

 (bryan farley)

The Wizard of Oz is a universal metaphor… and perhaps more universal for people affected by epilepsy. Characters are transported to strange places. The characters forge unusual relationships and face unnecessary challenges. After doing the impossible, we learn that we merely needed to click our ruby red shoes and everything would have been fine. The entire time, people watch us through a crystal ball. If not for our unlikely friendships, many of us would not have survived.

 (bryan farley)

The longer that I advocate, the more friendships nourish me. I am also inspired by those who honor important relationships. During the awards ceremony, one doctor introduced the recipient who is also his mentor. Spouses and children were honored for their support. Colleagues honored each other during their speeches. One recipient thanked her “three different families.” Lions and Tigers and Bears….

 (bryan farley)

For this post, I created a photo gallery with 111 photos. This is my way to honor my friendships and the people who have helped me contribute to our journey… the people who paved the yellow brick road. On January 11, 2011, (1/11/11) I met Tony Coelho a few blocks from the Julia Morgan Ballroom. (Here is my old blog post.) I committed to “telling our stories,” teaching others how to do the same, and to being a good role model. Sometimes, I forget to use my brain (and not because I have epilepsy.) Other times, I lack courage. Sadly, too often I lack heart. I never forgot that I am just one of many.

 (bryan farley)

While I (always) have more to write, I thought I would close with lyrics from the Animals song “San Francisco Nights.” I opened this post with a different Animals song — one that I have been singing since someone confused me for a doctor at the gala. (As an epilepsy patient, I feel more affinity with the time traveling Dr. Who.) At the Gala, there was a British Invasion cover band, and the Animals were part of the invasion. This last song was specific to 1967, but I like to extend it to our time and our larger epilepsy community.

“To the city and people of San Francisco, who may not know it, but they are beautiful and so is their city….”

Craig Morgan – Gallo Center Concert

In downtown Modesto last November, I photographed country musician Craig Morgan. I found a hundred reasons for waiting to publish the pictures, and really, I am not trying to hide my motivations. I think that they will be clear by the end of this song.

 (bryan farley)

Morgan performed at the Gallo Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, November 2, 2013. Originally, I had planned to photograph Morgan and his band a second time before publishing any photographs. These images were taken on the West Coast in early November. I was going to photograph him and his band again on New Year’s Eve in Washington, D.C. for The Concert for Epilepsy. I did not make it to the East Coast last Winter.

 (Bryan Farley)

Because I was going to see them again the following month, I was able to have better access than I might normally have at a concert. I was able to stay longer too. I stayed until the end. I took pictures from the last row of the top deck.

 (bryan farley)

I took pictures from behind the stage. I watched when Morgan went into the audience and brought the audience onto the stage.

 (Bryan Farley)

I was close enough that I could see the makeup and faded blue jeans. If the Central Valley air were still clean, I could have seen Bakersfield by the light of fans’ smiles.

 (Bryan Farley)

Morgan appears to enjoy his job as much as his fans appreciate him. Before he committed to his music career, he served in the US Army for 10 years . He continues helping military families and personnel. Morgan helps children. He helps people in transition. Morgan also discusses the importance of helping our veterans who we are in danger of committing suicide. Since my father committed suicide and since November 22, 2014 is International Survivor Day, I thought today would be a good day to post some old pictures and thank a musician for making my journey a little better.

For more background on this post, read Post Notes.