Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thank you, Loni

I think it was 1997 in the Cayman Islands.  I was working as a photo assistant for Dave Stoecklein.  We were there for 10 days to make pictures for the department of tourism.  Loni Weholt was our producer, and the days were long, but the shoot was amazing -- early mornings, late nights, and lots of incredible beaches and sunsets. 

On a ten day shoot, you really get to know everyone on the crew, and I remember always wanting to sit next to Loni at dinner, to hear her stories of expensive, complicated shoots she had worked on over the years, for all the big names whose work I pretty much worshiped at the time.

One night at dinner, an interesting question came up:  If you had to give up every sense but one, which would you keep?  Everyone chose sight, except Loni.  Without hesitation, Loni said she would keep her sense of smell.  Then she told me about all the smells she could pick up from our seat in the restaurant.  Fascinating.

One particular production story involved wrangling a massive herd of reindeer to some dark, remote location in Norway.  Loni made impossible things happen in impossible places.  It all sounded so interesting and satisfying and glamorous. 

So when it came time to leave Idaho, I decided to move to San Francisco ultimately because of this fascinating person with the contagious, explosive laugh that wrangled reindeer and smelled everything.

Loni died last month after a short, horrible battle with cancer.  I never thanked her for helping me discover my life as a photographer.  It's hard to believe that she is gone.

So, thank you Loni -- I'm here because of you.

1 comment:

Shae Rocco said...

what a great story and tribute