In their book Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland write, “To require perfection is to invite paralysis.”

And invite it I did – this past fall – when I became disorientated after a photography submission was rejected, leaving a sting lasting far longer than I had expected. The result was a brief, albeit bracing, dose of writer’s block that suddenly prevented me from writing a single word that would do the participants of Home of the Brave justice.

When I met Todd to discuss his participation in this project we were complete strangers. Our introduction (via email) was graciously facilitated by our mutual friend Angela Kokott.

Todd smiled when I told him Angela and I grew up together. “Any friend of Angela’s is a friend of mine.” he said as I began my introduction to the project and what had motivated me to take it on in the first place.

What has struck me the most about meeting and photographing Todd was his sense of commitment. When talking with Todd he listens to you, he really hears and sees you. His genuine authenticity draws out the authenticity in others.

That was obvious the night I attended the launch for his new book Halfway Home. You could feel the genuine warmth and festive hospitality in the church that evening. I was made to feel exceedingly welcome yet I knew not a soul, save Todd. Basking in the warm, glowing acceptance within the church I briefly imagined a large sign posted on the front door which might have read: Please check your armour at the door. You won’t be needing it this evening.

Looking now at this portrait of Todd and his beloved Boston Terriers (Piper and Puma), it occurs to me that we often experience rejection because of who we aren’t.

But we always experience acceptance as a result of who we are.

Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400

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