Monday, June 14, 2010

A hand written note

I ran in to Mannie by pure chance. I was up at AFI listening to his son John give a lecture to a group of young film students. It had been so long since I had seen Mannie. While we talked in the hall I couldn't help but be drawn into the sparkle of life in his eyes. I don't know why I asked if I could photograph him.

We brought Mannie a cup of Starbucks on the morning I photographed him. That was so typical for Mannie, a cup of Joe and a little conversation about life or politics or his grand kids. The shoot was really simple. A white roll of seamless paper taped to the garage door of his house and a camera.

These are the images that John had given to Vivian, his mother.

Mannie Blas

Mannie Blas

Mannie Blas

A week or two after John gave his mom the prints, I received a letter in the mail from Vivian. I haven't had a letter sent to me since I was in Iraq in 2003. I won't go on to much but I will say that Vivian and Mannie had a huge influence on me when I was young. It was after hearing their stories of travel and adventure that I decided to leave home at 19 and head for Europe to look for creativity and life.
Vivian's words were so touching and beautiful. I don't think I fully understood how impacting photography could be on someone until I read her letter.
Once again Vivian and Mannie have influenced how I look at life.

Vivian Blas
Dear Scott,
I was amazed when John told me about all the effort you put into taking photos of my husband, Mannie. However, when John presented me with 3 of the finished products on Mother's Day I was so moved that tears came to my eyes.
As you are well aware since the days of your adolescence and your visits to our home - I am a lover of art and therefore, I was highly impressed with your photographic artistry. You captured the essence of who my husband is. It's almost "too real" when I gaze on the expressions on Mannie's face which you captured most effectively.
I know that when Lisa arrives in town this June she shall also be quite impressed with your talent.
In closing I want to say "thank you" so very much for the photos but also for sharing with our family your talent.
Fondest regards,
Vivian Blas

I wanted to enclose one of my favorites from that day.

Mannie Blas

Mannie passed away this April and he will be missed. He has touched the hearts of many and I am honored to have known him.
I am trying to swear less because Mannie said "there are so many beautiful words in the English language that there is no reason to use swear words".


  1. smiles...a solid image which will give his family an image of someone they love - something to reflect on as the years go by - good job scott...

  2. Mannie passed away this April and he will be missed.