Boston Photo Scene

What Is Left Behind- by Ron Cowie

Today would have been my late wife Lisa Garner's 52nd birthday. It is apt that today is the opening for the show I'm in at the Griffin Museum gallery at Digital Silver Imaging. I'll be showing work from the Inventory Portfolio. This portfolio of images was made after she died. They are pictures of her things. It is my most personal work and I am very reluctant to share them.

I am sharing them because someone, today, is having to grapple with what I went through on March 25th, 2008; the day Lisa died. I hope these images communicate to those, who have been dropped in the middle of that darkest ocean, that others have been where you are and, you are not alone.

Having said that, let me speak to the reluctance I have in showing them at all: it hurts to be reminded that one of the most wonderful people I ever met is no longer on this planet. It hurts to remember that time of total powerlessness in the face of stark mortal reality. It is embarrassing to hear how much people like it. It is infuriating to hear how great it would be for a commercial job. In short, this body of work is intensely personal comes from a place of honesty and vulnerability. In other words, it's real art.

I won't bore you with my views on the over-commercialization of fine-art photography except to say it is happening and it sucks.

So, it is apt that I get to celebrate the life of a wonderful person with friends and photography. All the personal feelings I have are just that, personal feelings. They really have nothing to do with the images on the wall. I believe making successful art is about getting out of the way as it passes through us. If it can heal me, and it did, it might heal others. I don't get to control the conversation you have with the work I make. That's where most, if not all, the fear and reluctance comes from.

My job is to help you move through the world with beauty and in harmony. My tool is a camera. So, personal feelings really are nothing more than self-centered fears that stand in the way of that task. One would think that I should know better, and I guess I do but; I still need reminding of this. Once again, and as usual, I pass the test for being human.