foggy trees

I dedicate this photo to you because it’s empty and beautiful. It’s one of the best I’ve taken and I can give you partial credit because you encouraged me to pursue the things I wanted to pursue. You encouraged me to be me.

You were always you. Loud, obnoxious, smiling and straight to the point.  I could never doubt that what you said was what you thought. The way you were, the things you said. They were always you and nobody else. People didn’t always understand you and sometimes I thought you were off the mark, but I know — I knew — inside of that blonde head of hair were good intentions. Inside of that body that never stopped moving there was a good heart. Driving those fingers that never stopped hitting the shutter was a passion to be something bigger than you, to right some sense of injustice you saw in the world.

You could always take it a step further, just because you felt you should. Camping, skiing, talking to people you didn’t know, shoving a camera in someone’s face and giving other people the confidence they need to believe they are good. You always sided with your friends, you always sided with me.

Every editing class you had a huge to go cup full of soda, you chewed gum with a swagger and I always thought there was confidence inside of you. Words fell from your tongue faster than your lips could spit them, your random one-liners broke up time in freelance’s three hour class and that camera backpack with your treasured Canon accompanied you where ever you went.

You always wanted to stand out and because of that you went and did something no one else in our class at the J-School has done yet. I remember getting a phone call from you before you left. Excited, scared and ready to go, you bid me farewell. That was the last time I spoke to you. I smiled when I saw a your post on Facebook, telling the world you came back from Iraq — safe. I smiled when I saw your assorted photos from the last two years, judging them, of course, but also silently commenting to myself on their strengths.

It’s hard to believe that it’s over. It makes me sad to think I will never get another random phone call from you. That I will never hear the word “Camillioooo” fall from your lips again. That I won’t be able to see you become who you wanted to become, that I won’t see any new photos with your name watermarked on the bottom. I am sad for me, but I am also sad for you. You will never get that chance to be the person you wanted to prove you could be. And for that I am truly sorry.

Steeliooo you will be missed.