The Love Of My Life

Mary Guy, Hamilton 2011. Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 50mm f1.2 L lens. ISO 100 1/160 second @ f1.2

I grew up in Hamilton, a small town in Western Victoria in the southeast of Australia. Immediately upon leaving school I began my career in photography. My first full time work was in a camera store where I began doing weddings, portraits and debutante balls as a sideline. I became a popular and very busy photographer and, after 5 years in retail, opened my own photography studio, Glenn Guy Photographics, which I ran for several years. A short stint as head photographer at the local newspaper (i.e., Hamilton Spectator) followed prior to a move down to the big smoke (i.e., Melbourne) in 1986 to begin, what was to become, 9 years of tertiary studies in photograph.

It's been a busy and eventful life with lots of excitement, adventure and, of course, travel along the way. While I have few regrets about making the move to the city I still miss my mum, Mary Guy. In fact, regardless of where I live, I still call Hamilton home. Not because I was born there, but because it's where my parents lived.

Now 89 years of age the old grey mare just ain't what she used to be. Up until leaving Hamilton I resided with my folks. For a variety of reasons I've probably only visited home, on average, two or three times a year since then. That means I've seen my dear old mum only around 50 times since 1986. Believe me, that's not enough.

Keep Your Promises

When my dad, Fred, passed a number of years back I determined to go home more often. While my average has improved somewhat I've decided to implement some changes so as to ensure I'II be able to head home more frequently in the future. Christmas and Easter are a given. It's just a matter of fitting in one or two visits in between. And, of course, when you set your mind to something as important as this you come to understand that it's really not so difficult at all.

One thing I notice, when I do venture back, is how the aging process is affecting Mares. I guess we like to think that we all age gracefully, like an oil painting. But, when visits to the attic are few and far between, you may be surprised at the changes that have occurred. (I'm not sure why I just had an image from The Picture of Dorian Gray flash before me). But such realizations should only strengthen our resolve to take action and do the right thing. Which is exactly what I intend to do.

Documenting Change

The above photo features my mum on 26 December (i.e., Boxing Day) 2011. I deliberately moved in close with my Canon 50mm f1.2 lens, mounted to a Canon 5D Mark II camera, to emphasize my mum's face and, as a consequence, draw attention to the size of her rapidly shrinking body. You'll notice how the image has been manipulated so that her shirt and the background recede further than you might otherwise expect. While Mares wasn't too keen on the photo, I really like it. I think it's honest and quite luminous. And, as it's my mum, I'm allowed to be biased. Right!

As my mum grew up through the years of the Great Depression and the Second World War finances were tight. Add to that the fact that most of her life precedes our digital photography revolution and you'll understand why there are so few photos of my mum to pass onto future generations. Though she puts up a fuss when I try to photographer her, it's yet another reason to return home, more often.  

My suggestion for you, if you're living away from home, is to make the effort and return home more regularly. You won't regret it, particularly if you arrive with a good attitude and a preparedness to help out. And who knows how many opportunities to do so you'll have in the future.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru