Sunday, September 10, 2023

Fate and Circumstance

Eye to Eye

Lindsey Enderby and Pam Morgan were thrown together by circumstance and, so it seems, fate. Lindsey had already battled Parkinson’s Disease for twenty years when a year and a half ago he suffered two strokes and sepsis that landed him in the dreaded Taos Living Center. He hated every moment he was in the place that is often called the Taos Dying Center since half the population of the establishment is waiting to pass and another quarter are staring vacantly into space. The strokes caused Broca’s aphasia that limits his ability to communicate, to literally not to be able to find the words to express his thoughts. His good friend Sidney Bender, a retired Neurologist, believes Lindsey knows what he wants to say but can’t say it. That’s my take, too.

That's Pam reading Six Degrees of Separation from Lindsey Enderby 

And a doff of the hat

Pam in charge

When he was finally released from the Living Center, he required full time care. And that’s when Pam, a retired nurse, entered the scene. For a time, Lindsey had two caregivers each working a 12-hour shift. Then Lindsey and Pam connected on a deeper level and became a couple. Pam became his sole care giver and partner.

Leather tough

In one of my recent visits Pam expressed her interest in having portraits of them as a couple. I said, “Of course.” I photographed Lindsey at his western memorabilia store, Horse Feathers, eighteen years ago and the ones I took are among my favorites ever. I did a blog post “Six degrees of Separation from Lindsey Enderby” to memorialize the event and to suggest that he’s connected in some way to precisely two billion people. In 2005 he was a steely eyed movie hero, a strapping six-foot two hundred pounder. The dude was a god. Today there’s 50 pounds less of him but he’s still a specimen. Good bones.

So, we set up a portrait session which proved challenging. Lindsey wasn’t completely engaged, and his attention wandered. Neither Pam nor I could coax a smile and he often avoided looking into the camera. So I depended on candid shots and the smiles that happened naturally. I left the session feeling that I had failed to hit my mark. But later I found there were enough decent shots to save the day. My percentage of keepers was muy low but there were a handful of keepers. They are mix of natural light and a single 2’x4’ softbox.

As I’ve declared in the past, when I photograph someone, my goal is to show them as their perfect selves or better yet better than that. That’s what I’d want from my photographer. I fear I came up short with Lindsey and Pam. Serviceable is the term I'll use.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

What an opportunity, given a tough one, to photograph Lindsey and Pam at this point in their lives together. Lindsey absolutely has great bones, and Pam is a saint that is keeping those bones and his body together. They must have been thrilled when he was released from the Taos Living Center. You did not come up short in this photo shoot by any stretch of the imagination. The images are filled with life, and soft, and lovely, courtesy of the soft box. You surely reached Lindsey in many ways, even if he could not express them to you. And I am certain Pam was pleased to have the time with you, and grateful for the time you spent doing the shoot. Thanks for sharing it with us, Steve! Feliz cumpleaƱos, Amigo!