Please excuse the lapse in postings to the blog... it has been a challenging time since Weir's passing, as we sort through matters great and small. As the time has come to press on, it seems appropriate to start with a beautiful tribute to Weir from one of his close friends, and frequent blog contributor, Steve Kossack.
"Steve... This is Weir." It was a strong, deep, and graceful voice. One that I knew for over a decade. Whether it was a live phone conversation or a voice mail, it usually started this way.
His name was Weir McBride and when he first called me, it seemed that no one that I knew, knew of him or what he did. My friends had no idea and all the many people who have read the Singh-Ray Blog over the years may not as well. He liked to remain in the background -- coordinating, editing, nurturing and cheerleading. He loved what he did. This was obvious to me from the beginning.
|Weir called this image The Box Tie. And so it has been ever since! An early product of the LB Color Intensifier, He was delighted with the fact that the snow was white. "Yes," I said, "no color cast, no footprint, the true test of a quality filter."|
"Steve... This is Weir."
Our first communication took place shortly after my parents had died. I had spent the last several years of their lives with them. It was an uneasy time. My mother was in a convalescent home for seven years after suffering a brain hemorrhage. She was the inspiration and driving force behind my journey to learn the art of photography. My father was regimented. He taught me discipline and dedication. When they passed I was simply lost. Through the years, Weir would replace both of them in small ways, at different times. I think he knew this. As time passed sometimes he would start our conversations with the greeting "How ya doin' kid?" I liked these the best!
|Weir loved this image. "It's a butt shot" I said. The LB ColorCombo really helped he said. But it's a butt shot!|
|Weir thought that these shots illustrated the benefits of the recently introduced Vari-ND filter. "Yellowstone Falls was a raging torrent, and Merced Lake was a windswept mess," I said. "Not so anymore," he replied.|
|f/8 and be there. I had a camera and I was there. I showed these to Weir simply because I was in New York City and did them. He said "Let's try something different. Photography is photography." I replied, "all the rules still apply."|
"Steve... This is Weir."
When the idea of the Singh-Ray blog began, he asked if I'd like to try and write. My mother was a polio victim. She accomplished most everything she aspired to in her 86 years, with the possible exception of being published. She was a voracious reader and wrote in her younger years. The idea appealed to me and I gave it a whirl. Weir liked what I did, but added that it needed a little help and asked if I'd accept his. We never looked back!
|The ColorCombo. Reflection and color saturation. "Earth Tones at their finest," I told him.|
|"Into the mystic with the Soft-Ray," I told him. It was always one of our favorites.|
These conversations quickly became much more than about filters or photography or about any one topic. The wonderful element for me is that they were about everything and anything. With us it was the big picture. The world as we saw it and our place in it. He would tell me from time to time how fortunate he was and I would always reply that I thought of myself as the most fortunate person on the planet. He would let me go off on a tirade from time to time and there were moments when I would sense anger in his tone. Sure, there were times when I thought that what I did had little meaning and maybe I'd give up. Then we'd stop, and one of us would say "OK, let's talk about filters." We were friends!
|It was a slam dunk. I knew anytime I could show Weir a long-lens drop-in filter shot (in this case the ColorCombo), he'd be ecstatic. This was one of my best and we discussed what we both saw in it for quite some time.|
|Like our friendship, Bryce Canyon was a story we were working on that never quite got finished. Another time or another place perhaps.|
You said I wrote better than most. Coming from you it was the highest of compliments. It never mattered to me that a lot of what I did ended up on your editing floor. It was important to me that you read it. Maybe it was too long for a blog story but it was never too much to share with you. I'm so grateful that we had one last conversation together after your fall. You said to me at the end that you didn't know if our conversation helped you or me more and once again you stopped and listened to my answer. No matter if it was a discussion over a new idea for a filter or the inclusion of an image in a blog post, I sent you clearing horizons and in return you sent dozens of rainbows. You passed so suddenly that I'll never know if you knew how much the relationship meant to me. Although I never met you face to face or had the opportunity to shake your hand, or even know what you looked like, I felt I knew you from the inside out. There will forever be an empty place where you were. The phone is silent and lonely as I pass it now. I desperately want it to ring and once again and hear, "Steve... this is Weir."
|This was from our last story together. Weir stopped me to go back to this image asking "where is this again?" The realization once again hit me that he had not been there. Only in spirit... every time.|
Goodbye, my friend.
Steve Kossack will be conducting workshops over the summer. To learn more, visit his website.