There are questions that I ask myself with every photo I display. Is it journalistic or artistic? Is it symbolic, metaphoric, a narative, or is it purely, sensually, decorative? Or, is it some happy combination of all those things? What is the chord that is struck inside the viewer and will it continue to vibrate whenever you look at it?
When I took this photograph (it is actually two or three photos stitched together) I was on my way home, from Nanaimo, by ferry. I had just spent 24 hours with an old friend, his family and friends. I hadn't seen him for over thirty years before that weekend. By the time I started working on this photo, just a few days later, he had passed away.
For obvious reasons, at least to me, this photo reminds me of a famous 19th century painting by Arnold Böcklin, but with a very different effect. There was no morbidity in Albert (Bo) Gray, just a sadness at having to leave the people and things he cherished. There was no fear. He was the first among our group to strap on a backpack, head out into the world and face the unknown.
Before he left, Albert reminded me that we pass the torch of love down through the generations one act, one sacrifice, one person at a time. Nice trick Bo.