Last week I happened to think about the fact that not one of the photographers I have come to know online since I started this blog 4-5 years ago had passed away as far as I knew. I’m not particularly morbid, but a lot of the folks I’ve met are middle aged or older and things happen.
Then yesterday I happened to think of Wayne Frost. Wayne and I met online, and connected through Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. He hasn’t been active for about a year, but that happens. This picture made me think of him in a rather circuitous way. You see, I don’t sell many prints, so I remember the sales that do happen. Wayne bought one. This one. It does not have an awful lot in common with this image, except that they are both photos of part of a building shot straight on from across the street, and taken on an early Sunday morning. I have not done much of that lately. I did it this past Sunday, 2 days ago. I want to get back to doing it some more. So when I edited this photo yesterday I thought about other images taken on similar excursions and that led me to think of one of my few sales and eventually Wayne. I wondered what happened, but lots of people do this for a few years and then fade away. It is an expensive time-consuming hobby. It is rewarding but intense and people sometimes decide it’s not worthwhile. Then I forgot about it.
By this point there is little mystery in where this is going. I did not follow up on my passing thoughts about Wayne, but by pure chance this morning I saw someone post a small remembrance of him on Facebook. Working back through his Facebook page it seems he passed away in May 2013. Looking at his blog it appears his last photo post was almost exactly one year ago, on January 22, 2013. Over time he developed a fondness for the painterly effects he could create with the Topaz plugins Clean and Simplify. He developed a strong identifiable style. He also loved photographing cars.
I won’t pretend we were close, but we had fairly regular Twitter and blog interactions. He was a regular commenter here, and I tried to return the favor. Sadly, it is the nature of online relationships that you do not always notice when they fade. People come and go. They might drop off Facebook for a few weeks and come back with no announcement, and so when someone drops off your online stream, it can go unnoticed. Then weeks or months later you wonder: did he or she unfriend me, is Facebook’s constantly shifting algorithm’s keeping our posts off each other’s stream, did they just drop off online or did something worse happen? For whatever reason the small flurry of postings about Wayne’s passing last May did not come to my attention. That’s a shame, but I am glad I finally noticed today. I knew Wayne had health issues and I currently have no idea whether those became so severe last January that they led to his lack of online activity and ultimately his passing.
I enjoyed his art, and his occasional online company. His comments were thoughtful – he rarely left one that simply said that he liked the photo or just one element of it. He took the time to discuss the image for a few sentences, which is quite unusual. I will always remember him for that, and for his creativity.