Losing Someone in an Unexpected Community of Friends

I am a photographer, and I happen to use Pentax cameras and gear. Not that many people use Pentax as compared to Nikon or Canon. But ever since getting my first DSLR in 2008 I’ve been using Pentax. Because those of us who use Pentax make up a smaller community within the photography world we have a great website community that a lot of us interact on. At PentaxForums.com you can find great reviews of all the Pentax cameras and lenses. You can find great discussions and advice about taking pictures. You can buy or sell your gear to others. There are photo contests. It’s pretty nice.

But one of my favorite aspects of the forum is they have mini-games and challenges. For example, taking pictures of strangers, or even of airplanes or dogs. If you can think of a subject to take a picture of, they probably have a mini-game related to it.  For the last three months I have been participating in the “Single in…” challenges. Which is where you take one “single” photo a day for a month using the same lens. There’s a group of about 25 of us who participate and comment on each other’s photos everyday. It’s a fun challenge.

I joined this group because I have always wanted to force myself to take a picture everyday. I have wanted that kind of discipline and challenge for my photography. The forum was perfect for that. What I hadn’t taken into consideration was because we see one another’s pictures everyday and we comment on each other’s photos, we start to see into each other’s lives through photos. We give compliments to each other and suggestions about how to make the photo we took even better. For me, it has become quite a neat and unique community. An unexpected community of friends.

Well, recently, one of the faithful members to the group just found out he has stomach cancer, and his prognosis was pretty terrible. He is expected to die very soon. This was a shock to our little community. It definitely was for me. But it was weird. I have never met this guy. I had seen and commented on his pictures for two months, and he had commented on mine. I had seen how he had commented on other photographer’s pictures as well. And in a sense, we had all become friends, even though we have never met and probably never will. To lose him was a real blow to our group. He posted his last picture to the forums last week.

Bruce lives in Australia. And he takes wonderful pictures of flowers. Some wanted to send him a bouquet of flowers in the hospital, but since all of us in this forum are from different places around the world, it just was not practical. So someone decided that we’d take today to give him digital flowers. And I thought it was a wonderful idea.

You just never know about life. And you never know where you might find a friend.

As someone posted with their flower pictures,

“All things have a time to grow, a time to bloom and a time to fade away. Summer’s end comes for us all…”

Here is my photo for Bruce. May he go in peace.

Flower

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