Words and Photography by Jonas Rask
This essay isn’t easy for me. Loss and sorrow never is.
I deal with life and death in the healthcare system every day, but that’s in a professional setting. That’s when I’m prepared and at guard. I put on the semi-permeable emotional shield, that protects my inner fragility. These things hurt. Every goddamn time. Even for a doctor like myself, who is confronted with it on a daily basis, they hurt like hell. Some more than others, but they do hurt!
Steve Shipman's passing after a longtime fight with cancer is obviously something that touches us here at KAGE. I didn’t know Steve personally. I loved his photography, I read his blog, but I never reached out on a personal level. But in the context of things, that doesn’t really matter, 'cause the loss is a great one. He was an inspirator par excellence, and he touched many people through his art, including myself.
We talked about the theme of this issue and the title that came up was “On Being Here - For Steve” - I gave some good thought into what I wanted to do photographically for this issue, and I decided on a portrait series shot in 6x6 on analogue medium format just like Steve did with his portraiture. Unfortunately the 7 portraits I had done got lost during a bad development session yesterday. So the portraits went down the drain...
Having to rethink the entire thing with less than 24 hours until deadline, is one of those situations that you really don’t want to find yourself in. Nonetheless that is what happened.
I took the liberty to do a complete shift in expression. Instead of me portraying strangers with no emotional affiliation to my life, or Steve's for that matter, I decided on sharing some shots of the one thing that I know mattered most to him:
I cannot speak on behalf of Steve, but I can speak for me when I say that family is everything. They bring me all the emotions that I can experience as a human being. The entire spectrum.
When the feeling of loss and sadness takes a toll on my mind, the feelings of hope, innocence and happiness always prevail when I see my kids at play and look into the eyes of my wife.
This is what “being here” is all about for me. Being here, for Steve, everyday enjoying life with those around me that matters the most.
Here’s to you and your loved ones Steve.