Once again, the latest issue of SLO Life Magazine is out, and I’m very proud to have some of my images featured. In this issue it’s a very special honor for two reasons – first, Tom (SLO Life’s tireless publisher) included a very nice piece about my work on the cover photograph, which was a special experience for me, as I’ll get into in more detail in a bit; second, the issue also include an image by local surf legend Chris Burkard, who is an amazing photographer. It’s a massive honor to have my work published in the same magazine as his.
The subject of the current issue’s Meet Your Neighbor segment is a really special person: Georgian-born pianist, sculptor, music teacher, and all-around amazing man, Botso Korisheli. Botso was trained as a classical pianist as a young boy, lost his father at 14 due to his opposition to Stalin’s oppression of Georgia, dug ditches and then served as a translator during World War II, and eventually emigrated to the United States to pursue his first love of music. He’s lived and taught music in Morro Bay for almost 60 years in a home that he built by hand. There has even been a documentary made about his life. With a life like Botso’s, it seemed appropriate to take an analog approach to making his portrait for the cover of the magazine.
I want to thank Richard Photo Lab in LA for doing a really astounding job processing the film from this shoot. It was my first time using them, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I trusted them with this film. Here’s an image of Botso with one of the Polaroids that we made while we were setting up for the shoot:
As a testament to how patient and accommodating Botso is, after I thought we had finished, he invited me to sit in on a lesson he had scheduled with local concert pianist Marian Drandell Gilbert. She’s incredibly talented, and it was my very great pleasure to watch, photograph, and best of all, listen to Botso working with Marian on several pieces for an upcoming recital. A photographer who I greatly admire talks about his camera being a passport to meet people and have experiences that he wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and for me that has been especially true this month, meeting Botso, and being allowed to watch and listen to him working with one of his star students. It’s a pretty hard job, but I guess somebody has to do it.