Let the Old Man In! Photographic Core Message

The Old Man

In seven days, I turn  80 – Fucking – 5 years old!

My neighbor sits by her husband’s bedside as he lays dying of cancer. She wrote me a note yesterday, the last sentence of which said, “It is so disheartening to see such a strong man disappearing before my eyes.”

We are all disappearing.

Clint Eastwood talks about working hard to “Keep the Old Man out.” Well, I embrace the Old Man. The Old Man is marching in. For  all of us. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. The Old Man is  sitting at the breakfast table with me.

I am here at 5:30 in the morning, staring out at the darkness. I have 1,000 stories to tell. But who will listen? Who will care? My daughter? Unlikely. Maybe that is the purpose of our Men’s Group, our Berkeley High Zoom Group, our Up and Under Point Richmond Breakfast Group, or our Harrison Ave block parties.

Maybe the best we can do in life is to help each other tell our stories.

I want only one thing: the deep, self-revealing stories of pain and sorrow, and of joys and successes. I have no time  for sports scores, the weather, or politics.

“Books are resting places for the memories of souls who have moved on.”

My Shrinking World

Daily I look through my 50,000 + photos across many hard drives.

50 years ago – around the world

40 – 30 years ago around the US

20 – 10 years ago around California

Today, around the Bay Area

…and Redwood City

…and my garden

Now my challenges are to get the right light through delicate petals of a flower that will last only a few weeks.

My shrinking world is as it should be. No more running through airports, struggling with luggage, and feeling like a dope because I can’t speak French.

A new program from the Stanford Business School commanded: “Think Fast; Talk Smart.” I have zero interest in doing either. Today, I think slow. My talk is anything but smart… Nouns disappear by the boatload. I repeat stories, and I forget punchlines.

So, my comment to the Old Man is: “Come on in. Have a seat at the table. Might as well get to know each other.” Sorry, Clint. 

Photographic Core Message

Lately, I’ve been viewing some of my old photos from a new perspective.

Question: What is the photo’s “Core Message?” Editing can make a huge difference. Recent examples: 


Edited for Core Message


Core Message


Core Message


Core Message

So, use the “Crop” button and tease out the Core Message.

9 thoughts on “Let the Old Man In! Photographic Core Message

  1. Meribeth says:

    Dear Rick…I’m sitting here with my 88 year old dad, and read your “Old Man” blog to him – he laughed out loud, appreciating your invitation and levity. We just spent two hours last night with him telling 88 years of stories!!! Some of which I’ve heard before and some new ones…What a gift to have you and my dad around to keep us grounded and remembering to enjoy the moments….no matter what age we are! HAPPY 8 FUCKING 5 years Rick!

  2. jim hunolt says:

    wonderful photos, rick, core and complete…..so, 85 is a year to celebrate….as noted only one percent of our birth group have reached this far into longevity….all good, and of course there are details, but our big picture is what counts the most….bravo, rick, 99% have not been as successful in living longer as you have…..

  3. George O. Petty says:

    Sometimes context helps–the little girl with a fistful of dollars, reaching for the coin, has more of a story than just the coin reach. Toddler greed! I think she has a future at Goldman Sachs . . .

  4. Mary Warren says:

    Ahh, the nouns go first (as you once told me). But I’m with you on letting the elder in. She brings her own memories, wisdom, and joy. Such a wonderful surprise. I like the concept of photos having a core message. I’ll look for them now. Thanks.

  5. Patricia T. Green says:

    I’m reflecting on the lunch I had this afternoon with a group of former colleagues ,all of us with “assistive devices” and decided to call ourselves “The CANE MUTINY”.
    And tears streaming down from my reaction to my eye injection medication. Some things are harder to “let in” than others. But this too shall pass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *