My friend Bill Liesse passed away suddenly this weekend. He was 50 years old. Together we had covered Illinois basketball while in college working for the Daily Illini – he as a writer and columnist and me as a photographer.
Once the shock of the news was realized, and the tears dried for a moment, I immediately thought of this photograph. It’s one of my favorites from college and it hung proudly on the walls of many residences for years following my glory days at University of Illinois. Because it remained out in the open and enjoyed for so many years, it is etched in my mind just like the memories and friendship epitomized by this guy.
I am so happy to still have it in my possession. It was taken long before the advent of digital photography and lasting through all the technological advances in photography over the past 30 years.
Digital images are fleeting, disposable and subject to the lasting effects of fast-moving technological advances — like when you are left holding floppy disc in a world of flash drives.
There is something tender and comfortable and amazing about pulling out old prints. I held them in my hands yesterday, and the tears came, but so did the giggles, as I remembered the great adventures of me and my Daily Illini buddies.
It reminded me of the power of photography to transport you to a time when the world was yours, anything was possible and the fun was endless.
Try doing that with pixels.