Still Missing “Big Daddy”

Until my good buddy, Cindy Smith, posted something on Facebook this morning, I had forgotten that twelve years ago today we lost Don Blair. While there’s rarely a day that goes by that something doesn’t trigger a memory, the last thing he’d want anybody feeling after all these years is sad. He never stopped celebrating life and along with it photography.

I remember him telling me about shooting his first wedding. He wasn’t old enough to drive and had to take the bus, carrying an 8×10 camera, a tripod and the rest of his gear. That was where it all started, and here we are so many years later and he’s still an inspiration.

Last week I shared the challenge of shooting a portrait with a tall woman and shorter man. The two images above came from our first program when we launched our book, Don Blair’s Guide to Posing and Lighting Body Parts. We were doing the segment about tall grooms with short brides. He was a 6′ 6″ Algerian boxer from Las Vegas and she under five feet tall! But, check out how beautiful the pose becomes when you sit them down!

Most of you never met “Big Daddy,” but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been influenced by something he taught somebody in your network. I found the short teaser clip below from a Photovision promo. I’m not sure which is more fun to watch, Don teaching or Ed Pierce’s haircut from way back when!

So, as a tribute to the legacy left to us by “Big Daddy” – I’ll close this with one of his greatest messages. You never stop learning. Your education and ability to raise the bar on the quality of your images and your skill set NEVER slow down.  

Don was once asked, “What’s the best photograph you’ve ever made?”

His answer, “I don’t know. I haven’t made it yet!”


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