This week, boyziggy and I lost a truly great man. Max Christensen, master audio engineer of the San Francisco Opera, was personally responsible for bringing Ziggy into that organization seven years ago, a career opportunity which dramatically changed both of our lives for the better. Max demanded nothing short of perfection from his staff, and thus helped ensure the SFO's continuing place amongst the very best opera companies in the country. Last summer, Max retired from the opera after decades of distinguished service. This week, he succumbed to a long illness.
I remember Max's retirement day. Ziggy asked if I would attend and take photos. I was shooting the last of four consecutive nights of the Blue Bear School of Music showcase later that night, and really didn't want the extra responsibility. But I did it because I knew how important it was to Ziggy, Max, and the crew. I shot the photos (gallery here) and edited them on the spot, then Ziggy's co-worker loaded them onto a digital picture frame for Max and his family to take home and enjoy (along with other shots taken by Ziggy's co-workers), while I ran to my gig.
I'm now so glad I took those photos. For me, this is what being an event photographer is really about. Preserving memories. For ordinary people and extraordinary ones.
Farewell Max. I'll always remember you dancing to the Led Zeppelin cover band at my 40th birthday party, just a few months before your retirement. It was wonderful to see you so relaxed and happy then. I know you're relaxed and at peace now.