Have you every met someone you really admired? I don’t just mean someone famous – but someone whose work or achievements you value and appreciate – perhaps even wish you could emulate?
I never had, until Friday (largely because most of the people I admire are long dead, usually by at least a millennium) but on Friday I met natural history photographer Frans Lanting over lunch. Even if you don’t know his name, you will have seen and no doubt been beguiled by his images if you’ve ever picked up a copy of National Geographic.
There are many people who take photos of animals and plants, of landscapes and skies. Frans is, in my not-remotely-humble opinion, one of the best. In the world. Ever.
As it turns out, he is also one of the nicest gentlemen it has ever been my pleasure to meet. Over lunch, we discussed possible collaborations on books and e-books and he listened to my ideas and opinions with a grace and patience which is all too rarely found among experts, in my experience. Especially male experts when confronted by much younger women (a sweeping generalisation, from which all male readers of this blog are, of course, excepted).
Anyway, as it turns out, Frans was here in Australia partly to give a series of seminars organised by another professional photographer and all round lovely chap, Ken Duncan. And at the end of lunch Frans very kindly invited my boss and I along, as his guests, to the next seminar which was being held the following day.
And then he got out his iPhone and took our photos! And so I took out my iPhone and did likewise. Yes, Frans Lanting uses the iPhone camera for snaps, just like the rest of us mere mortals! Herewith the proof:
I spent Saturday at the seminar, blissfully immersed in a world of stunning wildlife images which were accompanied by the fascinating stories and practical tips that revealed how they were realised.
Frans even signed a copy of his book, Life: A Journey Through Time, for me (that actually links to the online slideshow, not the gorgeous book, but you get the idea).
After all that, I spent Sunday morning matchmaking two friends over brunch (successfully, I think) and then came home to discover that my washing machine had flooded my flat and was rather alarmingly causing water to drip into the flat downstairs through the ceiling. So that was fun.