I got a message yesterday from Harold Donway, a metalworker from Ohio, who worked hard and loyally for 35 years and was laid off when his company moved its operations to China. Harold worked very hard for his company, which tossed him readily into the garbage.
A month after he was laid off, Harold's wife died of cancer. His son, who loved him very much, did a crowdsourcing project to send him to Ireland for a year – Donway's family is from there – and people sent him $150,000 in two days so he could go. He just returned. It was, said Harold, a "miracle," a good fortune he could barely conceive of.
"I struggled with this," he wrote, "I've never taken a dime from anyone. But it was a wonderful experience for me, and I remember what my son said to the people who wondered why I got to go to Ireland and they didn't – "nuts to them."
Harold is a reader of my blog – he wants to meet Fate – and he donated $25 to my camera fund, he is sending a check to my Post Office Box (P.O.Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.) That touched my soul.
I'm not sure what to say about that story, or how it relates to me, but I'm glad Harold got to go. Crowdsourcing has changed the lives of many people, and empowered generous spirits to decide where to send their money. There are some people out there who love to give, it is a gift to them, I feel that way myself.
This ethos has benefited me and many others. I loved Harold's story, he fell in love in Ireland and may marry again.
This is an an update on my project – launched only on my blog, not anywhere else – to raise money so I could buy a $3,000 Canon camera converted to Monochrome for black and white use only. This camera will not take color photos and will permit me to explore a long fantasy of shooting in the kind of detail and emotion that black and white sometimes offers. Most of my photos on the farm will remain in color.
I am comfortable seeking this support, I give my photos away free and photography is an expensive habit. I initially wanted to pursue the new Leica Monochrome M, the world's first digital black and white camera, but the total cost would have approached $15,000 and I didn't feel comfortable asking that much or thinking of the hard-working people, I was afraid that some might send it to me.
The beauty of crowd-sourcing is that people can give a small amount, but there are so many that it adds up. It is all up to them.
I spent some time pursuing the alternatives to the Leica, and thanks to a reader of the blog named Susan, I found maxmax.
Maxmax is a company in New Jersey, the first company on earth to convert digital cameras to Monochrome, and I am buying Canon 7D that maxmax will rebuilt for black and white use. I will have to buy some accessories for the camera, but it will all be a lot cheaper than the Leica, which I will continue to fantasize about.
This is very important to me. It is about growing and creating something memorable. I want to move forward as an artist and photographer, and also as a human being. Some people at my age – I am 68 – are downsizing their lives and their expectations, I feel as if mine is just beginning. I have a great love, a new book contract, a life that is very much mine, and a passion for growth and change.
The camera is a big part of it, and at this point, I could not buy it for myself, there are too many obligations we have to meet and will. Thanks to those of you who understand this and have already sent $2,000 to my Paypal Account (you go to "Friends And Family" and my ID is email@example.com).
The closing of the mind is the first death, so far as I am concerned, the death of the body can be an afterthought. If our minds our open if we are following our zeal, then we are alive. I am alive. I don't know yet how much money is on the way to my Post Office Box, it's still too soon – perhaps I will check today.
There is no pressure. As my friend Ed Gulley says, "people who want to can send a buck, those who don't won't. End of story." Ed has a way of cutting to the chase. There is no shame, I have learned, in asking, there is no shame in giving or not giving. End of story.
__For those who do wish to contribute – I am already two-thirds there, thank you, you can do so via Paypal ("Friends And Family" to firstname.lastname@example.org in any amount you choose), or send a check to Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. I thank you.
Harold says he wants to invite me to his wedding. I will go. I have invited him to one of our Open Houses. He says he might bring his fiance.