it might seem odd to start things off with an ending, but somehow the time is now. this summer, some friends of mine and friends of friends attended the nation of gondwana festival in grünefeld, germany. i’m always conflicted about which camera to bring on a rough-and-tumble journey. we packed our bicycles with tents and supplies in saddle bags and headed for an adventure of bikes on crowded trains and country roadside paths. the previous two years, i had brought along my medium-format analog holga. while those were definitely interesting photographic experiences, this year i wanted to be able to shoot more and not bother with changing film or wasting film if, say, the temperamental flash decided not to work. plus, this was our one big summer escape, and i wanted to enjoy myself and see what would happen if i shot everything at 5.6 while being part of the party, not as a strict photographer.

shooting wasn’t easy. rain wanted to play with us and the fog on the dance floor made autofocus impossible. i threw my nikon d5100 into manual focus and tried to still my dancing feet for each shot. but i love to dance! so as i said, the photos from this journey are a compromise between being the party and recording the party. and the point of this whole story is this: we just learned that mihi, one of the friends of friends, was training for a half marathon and his heart failed. mihi is dead. these are some of the last photos of his life.

normally, it’s wise only to post one’s best work, right? but what if that technical standard is compromised by emotional meaning? what, then, is the point of photography? in this case, these photos are a recording. they document celebration of life on a gloomy day. earlier, mihi was wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, and i complimented him on them. he lent them to me and i tried to return them to him at the end of the festival. he told me i should probably keep them. thanks, mihi. thanks for sharing your lenses. i will now share mine.