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Maintaining Composure

So we buried my grandfather in law Miguel Solis today. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was a pal bearer for one section, and was also the photographer.  It is definitely not the first funeral I’ve photographed.  Sadly it is one of a few, but this one I think because in some respects, I emphasized  greatly with losing a father.   And during the course of the day, watching people break down in tears almost had breaking down as well.

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During the course of this shoot, I’ve wondered how photographers during war can distance themselves from the events they see before them.  Sometimes, I think having a camera in front of me at all times helps shield and distances me from what is going on, but clearly that is just a false sense of security.   The most touching thing I saw was one of Miguel’s best bud.  He is an older gentleman, and can barely stand up straight.  I know today, I’m sure he struggled to put on his best clothes, and went to say good by to his good friend.   I’ve captured his friend below, pushing the casket out of the church.

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It made me so happy and sad, as I hope my friends would do the same for me one day.  And how lucky they were to be best buds.  It’ s not often you find them, and at their ages, I’m sure they lose a lot of friends and it just gets harder, and more lonesome as the years go on.  That was the first moment I nearly lost my composure.

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Another instance was when one of the members of the band held on the the casket. I did not know that they knew each other, but the loving expression on his face told me otherwise. My photographer’s instinct kicked in, and I knew there was a moment that needed to be captured. Another random thought crept in my head. I’m actually actively scanning and seeking powerful, emotional, or poignant moments to capture. And I felt a little exploitive.

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Again, my thoughts went back to what it must be like to be a journalist or a photographer in third world countries or extreme places. You just can’t help but be attached somehow emotionally, and the moment you stop. What then? What would it mean? Just another job? Carry on?

Another moment I thought was touching were these two brothers. I know I have my disagreements with my own brother and no family is perfect. So when I see two brothers hanging out or doing things together, I would be remiss if I didn’t think of my own brother, and how cool it would be to have such a relationship.

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I’ve spoken and hung out with Grandpa Miguel every Christmas Eve for the past 5 years now, and I think it is a tradition that I will be sad to see go. Rest in peace Miguel. Until we meet again.