My last word is that it all depends on what you visualize. –Ansel Adams
The first call I made when I was formulating PORTICO JACKSON was to James Patterson. If PORTICO was to celebrate the place of our lives, the images that inspire us, that remind us, that become the touchstone memories in gloaming moments, then James’s eyes were the ones I needed. But he, as anyone who knew him knows, offered more, so much more. All in, he committed time, gave advice and provided guidance. He became more than just a visual rock for PORTICO, he became the Svengali of its images, recommending other photographers, accomplished and fledgling, to assure not just the visual integrity of our magazine, but the visual accuracy of our intent.
Now, like so many in our lives who have passed away from us, he will remain as inspiration and mentor, a cherished and giving friend too soon gone whose life will not be diminished by any light. His legacy is firm, ascending with each image seen by his countless peers, each photo made by those he trained, each memory of life that imprints indelibly in the brains of those who knew and loved him, as we all look around us, without him, and try to see what he taught us to look for.
And that search, for art in the everywhere, inspiration in the everyday, importance in the everything, is the search we must all dedicate ourselves to in such times of travail and uncertainty. Without leaders of compassion to console, of sympathy to soothe, of awareness to understand, the way forward is ours to discern and determine. Each one of us knows we are of divers communities of faith and belief, composed of diversesensibilities and heritage, but connected by inalienable rights one to another, and ineffable convictions to home and country. The certainty of good, of a Golden Rule, cannot be forgotten, especially in the face of certain evil. If we misplace humanity, by ignoring human conditions and the realities of hope and promise, especially the hope and promise our place has always held out to all…well we become less human, simply anthropological slots on a chart.
Each one of us seeks a better place for everyone we know and everyone we love. Beyond those, alien and unknown, we understand their search…and in acknowledgement, all want to be a part of a greater whole: substantial, essential, significant. A great President once told us, “…the only thing we had to fear was fear itself…” There is no question we live in challenging times, but the way forward is not to devolve through fear but to ascend by courage. The quake of fear should not move us into indolent cavern, but into passionate action. The design of our world, our world, is a greatness far greater than a slogan, it is a greatness founded in awareness, on unity and through compassion.
Everyday James Patterson beheld a great and wondrous world, shaped by hope lined by beauty and washed in richness. He saw light and shading and clarity in every image, and he did more than almost anyone I know to make goodness clearer and awe attainable. What a wonderful world it would be. What a wonderful world it must be. What a wonderful world we must see…