Friday, June 27, 2008

Goodbye to a sweet friend

Yesterday I learned the tragic news that a sweet friend and colleague had passed away in a horrible and violent accident. However she also died a hero, risking her life to save another's.

Julie Steiskal and I met for the first time when I got up enough courage to go to a get together a message board was having. I was new to the board. She didn't know me, but by the end of the day we were friends. We were there for two days doing discussions and shooting models. In the afternoon of the second day we split up and did an Avatar Shootout. I was so thrilled when Julie chose me to be her partner! She was fun and fresh and full of life and ideas and laughter. She was a nut. I immediately just adored her. We laughed so much that afternoon. Being silly and goofing off was never so fun.
There are tributes to her all over the Internet that I've read, and one thing is very clear, that no matter how small of a time a person spent with Julie their lives have been blessed/touched/ or changed. We will all feel a hole in our hearts and lives where she belongs. She was loved by many and a blessing to all.
She was simple and wholesome and real. She was generous with her time, talent, love.
Just the other week she sent me an email asking me where I'd been. Summer has come and I've become so busy, and she missed me. Wow, I was not expecting that. She was so sweet to write and check up on me. That still amazes me.

These are the words she wrote about herself on her blog, and I know with a surety that there were no pretenses put on in these words, they are genuine, they are Julie-

"we need a renaissance of wonder. we need to renew, in our hearts & in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle & magic."
e. merrill root

when i was six, i walked into the empty kitchen, looked behind me, stretched my arm as far as i could and borrowed my mother's camera for the first time. and when i was done with it, i quietly slipped it back on the counter and went back to my book with a smile on my face. today, as then, i find beauty in the eyes of those i love, in the details of God's creation, in laughter, in light, in wonder.

i like my garden. i like my front porch and my little old house. i like knowing my neighbors and i like crossing my street to get the mail. i like a good book, a movie that makes me laugh, a song that makes me sing. i like food. i like thai restaurants, good pasta and the tacos that come out of my kitchen. i like the smell of the grill on a warm summer night and i like my mother's cheesecake. i like the water. i like the smell of rain, the sound of a creek, the infinite possibility of a lake and the dampness of dew. i like falling asleep and waking up to thunderstorms. i like the sound of my nephew's giggle and the feel of his brother's hand in mine. i like that my family includes some of my best friends.

my life is both simple and complicated. it is a peaceful spring morning, it is a commute surrounded by people i don't know. it is finding the quiet in the chaos, it is knowing how to be alone in a crowd.

i think you, your child, your dreams are beautiful. i know that time is quickly passing. i want to help you capture the moments of your life that you never want to forget.

this is what i bring. this is who i am.

A woman with many talents and not only a phenomenal photographer but an enchanting writer as well.

Here are a few pictures I've taken of this dear friend. I will miss her terribly. Get togethers with other photographers will never be the same, there will always be an empty space where our friend could have been.

Julie pining over her imaginary boyfriend "Bill" on the other side of the door.

Laughing about it because she was so silly.

Then her serious look with the steel blue eyes.

Beautiful woman.

But a little slow.

I love the picture she took of me under the sign, "good times, good times" as she wrote about our shoot out together.

These next two have horrible color, but I wanted to include them. This is from our last get together in April. I was so honored when she called me to ask me to be on the OSP committee for the GTG. The first was taken when I was mindlessly aiming my camera at her trying to adjust my exposure, I then noticed her making this face and quickly snapped off a shot before she stopped. Nut.


It was during that planning phase that we met and I had my first real taste of Mongolian food. I thought I had before, but not really. I couldn't bare to tell her the truth that I thought it was gross. I admired her steel stomach.

And here she is working it with the camera.
I will miss this beautiful smile.

And quirky sense of humor.

Goodbye my friend. God be with you 'till we meet again.


Anonymous said...

I read everything you wrote about her. What a beautiful girl! I'm so glad you got some great pictures of her.

Alma says, could you say, if you were called upon today to die, have ye been sufficiently humble.

I think that girl was. She spent her last day in service to teenagers. She did not desert the girl who slipped.

She is in the hands of God. I weep for her loss on this earth.

Ginabear said...

Jen, that was an awesome tribute to Julie! I know you will miss her! She had a good friend in you and from what you've told me about her, she touched your life as well. I wish you comfort at this time and the long memory of a good and brave friend! She sounds like an amazing woman!!