A photographer with a passion for faces; a damn good writer; a teller of stories; a philosopher; a web designer (ex) who will wrestle HTML to the floor until it gives in and does what he wants; an über blogger; a husband to a marvellous artist, and a father to two smart, beautiful, witty, stylish kids.
On a day so wet and windy roads were closed by fallen trees and floods, Stevie and me gritted our teeth and drove into the wilds of Galloway to attend a weekend storytelling workshop. It was November 2006, not my time of year, and so far not my year. And now the weather howled: "Go back to bed!" I'd have obeyed, gladly, but I didn't want to let down the young friend I'd arranged to meet there. I cursed myself for having done so. But today how glad I am. It was in that cosy, picture lined school hall, in a village so small you're more likely to meet an astronaut from Timbuktu than someone who was born there, that I met the subject of this post: Kim Ayres (aka The Bearded One), whose birthday it is today.
I can't say for sure that if I had never met Kim I would never have discovered blogging. I can say for sure that he's the one who convinced me to give it a go. Good writing practise he said, and it forces you to write regularly so as not to let people down. Previously I had imagined blogs were the domain of a particular sort with whom I had nothing in common. The other thing I can say, with some conviction, is that even if I had discovered blogging without knowing Kim, I would not have met the same people (i.e. you) because when I first signed up he was the only person I knew with a blog. So almost everyone I've met in blogland I have met either directly or indirectly through him. So I'm grateful to him for that alone.
But blogging isn't the only thing I've gleaned from Kim. By telling his story so frankly he's shown me how to take a step back from certain irritations and look at them rationally, ridding them of their power over me. He's helped open my eyes to the complexity of our relationship(s) to the rest of the world (along with Nietzsche), and thus helped me not to judge myself, and others, quite so harshly. And he's shown it's never too late to change direction. Not to mention how much one can achieve in the most difficult of circumstances if one is passionate about one's task.
Since I've known him Kim has taken up photography as a full time, living making, occupation. It's been a joy to see his work go from strength to strength, his enthusiasm grow, and astonishing given that that for this whole period he's had to contend with extreme Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. How he does it I don't know, but I do know we can all learn from his experiences if we want to.
So, why don't you pop over here to say:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIM
One of Kim's early practise shots, of me in an old burnt out hotel.
To get a good look at his recent work go to his website: Kim Ayres Portrait Photography.
Others who are honouring Kim today are:
Debra, whose idea it was in the first place. Thanks Debra!