Al Weber passed away Feb 27, 2016. He was my friend, although others certainly knew him better or longer. What we shared, he shared with all: his love of photography. Because we both had a similar sense of simple designs and abstracts, we enjoyed sharing our images with each other.
More than any other single person, Al changed the course of my journey thru photography. Yes, I’ve been shooting for almost 60 years, but I didn’t really get serious about it until a dozen years ago. Al was the juror for a show at the Center for Photographic Art, in Carmel, a while back, and not one, but two of my images were selected by him for the walls of that storied institution. As we talked about them, we felt a kinship, and I visited him many times at his home. His wonderful wife, Suzie, would putter in the kitchen, or out in the garden. The dogs would bound around excitedly to have someone new. The cat would hide in the bathroom. Al and I would talk until he got tired.
He honored me greatly by choosing me to be the speaker at one of his famous King City Rendezvous.
And he fell in love with one of my images, “Basement Bistro” and insisted that if I’d print it big, someone would buy it. I felt I was in no position to disagree, so that 13 x 19 print became his, and I had another printed at 36 x 54. One thing led to another, and the big print became the first of my pieces to be collected by a museum, and now resides at The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.
But as great a high-point as that was, the most meaningful thing he ever said to me was on one of my last visits, a few months ago. I would always come out with a handful of photos to show him, and I’d always ask “what do you think?”
On this visit, after going thru a dozen images or so, he said to me “You know, I’m concerned that you always ask what I think. You’re every bit the photographer that I am, and what I think isn’t anything you don’t already know. I like your photos, so quit asking.”
That was Al. Pointed; a bit gruff and as honest and passionate as the day is long. Yes: I am pretty confident in my work, but you have no idea how much it meant to me to hear Al Weber say those words.
Al: I’ll miss you. You changed my life my friend, and I shall never forget you.