On Monday, I got to talking with a photographer who had come up to take photos for the next issue of the university magazine. Said he was born in 1947, which would make him...57 or so. He owns his own studio in Oita now, but he told me he'd like to quit the commercial stuff in a few years so that he could concentrate on artistic photography.
He told me a story about what inspired him to take up photography. When he was in high school, he had an opportunity to meet Hayasaki Osamu, a young photographer who was at the time winning plaudits from around the world for his photograph of sprinter Bob Hayes in the Tokyo Olympics. (I think that must be Hayes on the famous poster.) His eyes really lit up when he started talking about Hayasaki's work. I think it was a defining moment in his life.
The site I linked to says of Hayasaki:
"Untimely death due to a fall during a photo shoot on a lighthouse in Niigata Pref. His camera was pointed toward the Sea of Japan, probably for ocean sunset shots." What a classy way for a photographer to go. If only we could all go out doing what we love. I guess I'd like to go out blogging. Just kidding. You hope.
Funny though, the photographer I spoke with said that Hayasaki fell of a cliff while taking photos of birds. Close enough, I guess. For people like this, maybe the myth is more important than the reality. Maybe I'm just saying that because I recently saw Big Fish.