Giving Honor & Respect

Recently I visited the gravesite of my lifelong friend James Lee Hargreaves.  Jimmy had passed away in June of this year and three months later, Jim’s headstone was still 8 weeks away from being placed at his grave.  Being the sentimental artist type that I am, I wanted to place something on the head of the grave until the headstone arrived.  However, I want to explain the main reason why I visited Jimmy’s gravesite so soon (at least for some) after his passing.

The picture included in this blog post illustrates what I placed at the gravesite.  One aspect of my artistry is to combine a photographic image with poetic words to enhance the significance of the creative experience as it was preserved in time by the artist (I call this art Images with Words).  The events that led to this type of artistic presentation are as follows: in 2010 I was working with the flash flip-book technology to create an electronic memory book of my recent 35 year high school reunion.  I was combining words with images in the flip-book format of the 35th reunion and past reunions to be sent to my classmates on a CD.  Also during this period I went to an Ansel Adam exhibit at the MFA in Boston, Massachusetts.  While at the exhibit I noticed Adams had done a few photography books with the words of poets during his era.  I thought wow; Ansel would have loved messing around with this new flip-book technology to present his photography to the public.  Then I thought to myself, why can’t I do this type of artistic presentation?

Fortunately, I had developed a network of relationships with fellow artists through a group I started on Facebook.  I chose to collaborate with two of what I think are world class photographers in the present day, Pd Lietz from Manitoba, Canada and Regina Walker from NYC.  I wrote the poetry to go with the photographic images they provided. Regina at the time was experimenting with Smartphone photography and her work is exhibited at the Ceres Gallery in NYC.  Pd’s art has been featured on so many magazine covers around the world to numerous for me to write an exact number.  My experience of creating with them, especially Regina who has become my mentor, I have picked up my Smartphone as a photographer to combine words with images all my own.

Why did I go into all of this detail to explain the main reason why I visited Jimmy’s gravesite so soon (at least for some) after his passing?  I wanted to illustrate the perceived magnitude and value given to the artifact I placed at the head of the grave belonging to one of my dearest friends in life.  It is the best I can humanly give to bring honor to the life lived by one of the greatest humans to walk the face of this earth, James Lee Hargreaves.  No matter where Jim in spirit is now believed to be, my belief for going to the gravesite of a loved one is to show honor and give respect for the life that loved one lived.  It also allows the living left behind by that loved one to eventually heal from such a loss.

Side note: while placing my artistic creation at the gravesite it started to rain hard.  With a smile on my face, I looked up to the heavens as water bounced off my glasses and said, “geez, thanks buddy.”  Only a heavenly reflection of Jim’s past earthly sense of humor.  The little bird in the picture was previously left at the gravesite by Jim and Roberta’s dear friend Bobby.  Roberta is Jim’s first wife and another one of my dearest lifelong friends who accompanied me on that day to the grave.

Image & Prose by   ~Keith Alan Hamilton~

Artifact: dancing with the angels ~ dedicated to James Lee Hargreaves

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