While I prefer to think of all the great things a person did with their life and not their actual death, recording events is part of what I do. It's also part of how I deal with emotions, sad and happy. So, today I took an early lunch break and went down to the Boston Common to photograph the outpouring of Boston love and appreciation for the brilliant Robin Williams.
Last night, someone came along and started this makeshift memorial on the bench where a scene from Good Will Hunting was shot. Even during the short period of time I was there, many people came and added their favorite quotes to the sidewalk and left flowers on the bench.
My camera often acts as an emotional wall and it can help me cut-off from the situation I'm witnessing. Sometimes. A lump formed in my throat as I arrived (and grew at the sight of a young woman writing with a little boy "I Yam what I Yam, I'm Popeye the Sailer man!"), and it was a struggle to keep it together until I decided to leave my own quote from Dead Poet's Society, "I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops". Focusing on chalk writing apparently helps curb public outbursts of tears. Who knew?
Robin Williams was a genius. I think few would argue with that. Many who met him and knew him said he was kind and warm-hearted (from what I'm seeing through interviews). Those who only saw him on the screen know he was heart-breaking and hilarious, often while playing the same role. When the chalk washes away, I know that's what I'll remember, and I will be grateful to have Dead Poet's and Good Will and Vietnam and many more to continue to enjoy his genius through. But for today, I document.