One Foot in the Grave? An Update.

In Life Is Short, News & Stuff, The Italian Incident, The Life Creative by David343 Comments

Not quite a week ago, I had my right foot amputated and dropped that news on many of you somewhat abruptly. Sorry about that. As I observed at the time, there’s just really no way of easing into a conversation like that. If you missed this and you’re wondering what’s going on, you can read the whole story here to catch up. If you caught the news the first time, keep reading because after the incredible outpouring of support you gave me, you deserve an update. I’m sorry it has taken so long.

It was an early morning for us on Monday, June 05. Neither Cynthia nor I slept very well in the hotel room, and we were up well before 5 am. By 5:45, we were at the hospital, and by 7:45, I was on a gurney being wheeled into the operating room. An IV, a chat with my surgeon (who signed the correct foot and promised to try really hard not to take the good one), and then it was, “Count down from 10, 9, 8…” and the rest got fuzzy and because of the  miracle of anesthetic, no time passed at all before I was awake and the foot was gone, cut about seven inches below my knee.

The surgery went well, and the surgeon did a great job. I was in good spirits, and all was right with the world. And then they moved me up to a room that can only be described as a total f*cking madhouse. I was the final (and youngest) patient in a room of four: two other men and one woman. The men were completely nuts, though not in the clinical way that would suggest I choose my words more carefully. Sane, but crazy, if you know what I’m saying.

Here is but one exchange in the endless cavalcade that was my shared room/frat house:

Patient One (taking a break from singing Christian hymns at the top of his lungs): “Jesus is coming!”

Nurse (God bless her): “Jesus wants you to take your meds.”

Patient One (refuses meds but resumes singing, then bursts out): “Jesus is coming!”

Patient Two(chiming in for not the first time): “Shut up!”

Nurse(ever patient, deserving sainthood): “Let’s try to be a little nicer.”

Patient Two: “Tell him to shut up.”

Patient One: “Jesus is coming!”

Patient Two: “No, He’s not! Shut up!”

(Nurse taps out, reconsiders her career choice.)

Patient Two: “If you don’t shut up, I’ll come over there and shut you up!” (ignoring for a moment his total lack of mobility, being—as he is—on a ward for the indisputably immobile).

Patient One resumes singing, which turns into him asking Jesus into his heart, not once but half a dozen times before I put my headphones on and start asking Jesus to, whatever else He’s busy with, take me now.

Patient Three, the quiet lady who keeps to herself, lies silently behind the thin curtain that separates us, wondering, I’m sure, what she did to deserve this and undoubtedly grateful these people won’t be getting out of their beds.

Patients One and Two resume dancing around their competing versions of reality. Patient Four (me) puts his headphones on and lets Pink Floyd join the party.

That was the first night, one of the longest of my life, because the outbursts went on Lionel Ritchie style: all night long. I can only praise the nurses for their patience and compassion, and the drugs for their eventual sedative effect (on me, but clearly not the others).

Since then, there’s been plenty more madness, including a room change that only made things worse, and then endless conversations with physiotherapists, a lot of poking, and short walks on crutches that became longer walks on crutches. Pain meds every four hours and some real moments of laughter with the ever-rotating roster of nurses and pain specialists. It’s been busy; I brought two books and a stack of magazines to pass the time, but I still haven’t opened any of them.

What I have had time for in the moments of reprieve from the chaos are the many, many comments from you. As I write this, there are almost 600 notes from you all on the blog, and most of them are not short “get well soon” notes but longer messages of compassion and kindness. All of them tell me there’s a connection between us that is not only strong but enduring.

Many of you have been walking this path with me for many years, and as much as this is an update, it is also a heartfelt thank you. You’ve brought me to tears of gratitude many times this week with your own stories of vulnerability, loss, and resiliency, and as insufficient as these words are: thank you. Thank you for showing up for me in your words and your actions. The sales of my three new monographs have deeply humbled me. Your generosity and kindness inspire me.

I won’t be able to thank you all individually, but this is very, very personal: thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

So how am I doing? I am well. Truly. Very sore, but well. All week I’ve been so relieved the surgery is over and that, yes, they removed the correct foot. So grateful to be able to begin planning and dreaming again. And after being postponed twice, I’m thrilled that the surgery is not something that can be taken away again. I’m mentally clearer now than I’ve been in months, perhaps for the last year. Even with the pain meds, I feel undistracted, like the fog and preoccupation have lifted. My words are easier to find, my sense of humour feels sharper. I realize what a weight I’ve been carrying as I’ve second/third/fourth-guessed my choice so many times since last summer. It’s been exhausting, and I am so relieved, so truly happy, to be coming out of that. I slept better last night than I have in months.

I am also amazed at how surreal my daily experience is right now. On day one, I felt my first phantom sensation, a persistent itch on the bottom of a foot I no longer have. But there it was, my right sole itching and no way to scratch it. Frustrating, but kind of fascinating. I lift my leg, now approximately five pounds lighter, and it kind of goes flying up with no control. It’s amusing, if not particularly graceful! I reach for socks and grab two, forgetting I will only need half as many for a while. I go to cross my ankles or shift my legs to move one foot over the other to find that one foot, well, isn’t. The presence of an absence.

It’ll be a long learning curve, and I know it will be painful and frustrating at times. But I have so much hope that it will also be so much more than that.

I was discharged on Friday, June 09, and I’m now settled on the couch in my home, counting down the ten days until my stitches come out and my prosthetist takes over my care to begin shaping my initial prosthesis and get me walking. It’s all happening miraculously quickly.

So now I’ll have time to rest up, heal, and to write: aside from my bi-weekly missives (which—mea culpa— I have neglected lately, ) I’m also working on a new book for you. And I’ll have time to dream and plan and, eventually, to jump with both feet back into travel, adventure, and teaching.

Thank you for being there for me. For your kindness. For your words of encouragement.  I have needed and taken comfort in all of them. It has not all been easy, though I try to downplay the struggle of it. We all have challenges; we’re all missing something. These are the constraints with which we work in any creative endeavour, and life is certainly that.

If you missed it or are reading this for the first time, I released a set of three new monographs and 18 desktop wallpapers on Monday, the day of my surgery. I’ve put them on sale for whatever you choose to pay, giving you the chance to decide what value they have to you and to participate in my recovery if you choose; the sale of these monographs will help get me into my new prosthesis and back on my feet. 

You can find the three new monographs here or by clicking the image below.

Your support of my work will get me into my first prosthetic leg in the same way your support of me has always given me purpose and a place to stand in this world. Not everyone has that, and I am so, so grateful. If you’ve already purchased this set of new monographs, thank you! I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. Questions about anything you see there? I’ve got time on my hands now and would be happy to turn this down time into teaching time. Just leave your questions in the comments below. And if this is the first you’re hearing of any of this and you want me to back the whole thing up and start from the beginning, here’s more about how I got to this point. 

For the Love of the Photograph,


  1. David I was greatly saddened to learn you’ve been suffering such misfortune so long after your terrible fall years ago. Hopefully it must be encouraging and touching to know many people feel deeply for you and are reaching out to express their concerns and best wishes from around the world.

    I have read many of your publications and just ordered your Heart of the Photograph book from Amazon. Your creative work has always been so impressive, the publications beautifully produced, and your insightful observations and advice always inspiring.

    I hope your recovery is fast and you soon gain the benefits your surgeons have suggested are possible. With luck you’ll soon step back out into the world full of creative energy and talent that you have shared so generously with so many people. Best wishes from Brisbane, Australia.

  2. I am sending you hugs, David. I have one of your books and it’s been a great inspiration. Now your story is an inspiration. You are strong, passionate, optimistic. I wish you all the best, and a lot of new perfect frames to catch.

  3. Dearest amazing David,
    Wanted to tell you how much I am inspired and amazed by you! I always have been in regards to your photography, your wonderful courses, teaching style, writing, humor and way of communicating, but your way of handling the amputation and all the challenges has literally blown me out of the water! Your willingness to be so open and vulnerable in sharing your experience touches my heart deeply and I’m sending you and Cynthia so much love and wishes for speedy healing. I want to write more later and I will, but oddly enough right after I read your initial blog about the amputation , literally the same day I think, my right leg gave out on me (I’d been experiencing some weakness in that leg for a while from a lower back injury while caregiving last year) while on my way to a porta potty at my local nursery and I fell and broke my left shoulder…. Yikes! Nothing compared to what you’ve been dealing with but it has caused me to relate even more so to what you are going through. Anyway just wanted to let you know why I hadn’t commented here sooner. Please give my love to Cynthia too!

  4. We talked about the possibility of your foot amputation at the workshop with Dave Brosha in PEI last summer. I’ve had friends with excellent foot prostheses which work well for them. One friend, a kayaker, uses a piece of plastic pipe as a prosthesis when on the water (Kokatat made him a dry-suit with a foot/sock formed to fit his pipe-foot). Works perfectly….and he has the advantage of being able to leave his pipe-foot in cold water for a long time without noticing! As time passes….I will be curious to hear how you use your artificial foot (or feet) to your advantage. In other words – no sympathy from this end….just encouragement to “go for it” and figure out how to take best advantage of the new situation!

    Best wishes! I’m downloading the monographs and look forward to enjoying them!

    As an aside – I value your teaching immensely!

  5. Oh gosh, David, you had me in stitches with your description of your hospital madhouse! Clearly they did not amputate your sense of humor or your vivid powers of description. And as I write this, I think: no wonder you’re such a wonderful photographer, because what I see in your writing is that you are a wonderful observer and noticer! I’m just on the verge of writing a blog post about noticing, and how photography helps me be more closely attuned with the world around me because when I’m making photos I’m more observant – I NOTICE things more, Clearly you’re a master of the art of noticing, and it shows up gorgeously in both your writing and your photographs. You continue to inspire and educate me even as you go through this most difficult of times for yourself. I wish you a speedy and full healing so you can get back to doing the things you love best with undiminished capacity. In the meantime, keep noticing and describing … and laughing!

  6. Hi David

    We never did get to meet. Covid and all that preceded it.

    I am a senior Australian rehab physician with over 45 years direct experience with amputee medicine. I have worked with the surgeons, before and immediately after surgery, and consider it quite a privilege to be so involved. You are lucky to be in one of the best countries in the world for amputee care. Just down the road Oregon and Seattle have been leaders in prosthetic development. Yes I recognise that it is a different country but let’s face it your are all “over there”.

    For the record I have talked many men into having transtibial amputation rather than limping along with dysfunctional foot and ankle complexes. So I feel your pain. But don’t give up. Look after your stump. Do not fall. Do not fall. Take all the advice your PT gives you and more. I used to get people weight bearing in the the first 4 weeks, depending on wound healing. Look to the horizon and be confident. One day we will meet somewhere face to face and I trust that I will not recognise your limp! Regards, Gerry McLaren

  7. Hello David!
    I read this latest blog with great relief and gratitude that the surgery was over, and you were doing well. I saw your pain and frustration last summer at the last Coastal Vision on PEI and you mentioned you were considering amputation even then.
    As I scrolled alllll the way down to the end to add this comment, I thought to myself; “What on earth can I add that hasn’t already been said, most likely better than I?” But as you stated so eloquently last summer; “What if Van Gogh, or any of the other great artists felt they had nothing new to add?” So here we go.

    My husband’s grandfather was in his early eighties when he had his foot amputated mid-calf due to poor circulation. He blamed all the fried foods he ate growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, but I think it had more to do with breaking that ankle while playing baseball and the lack of good orthopedic knowledge back then. He was SO excited to get his prosthetic that the morning of his appointment he was actually pacing the condo with his walker. Afterwards, there was many a family discussion about what he should and shouldn’t do…his house on the lake in the north woods of Wisconsin hadn’t sold yet and he wanted to go back up and do some fishing. Could he handle the boat? Could he get up and down the steep path to the lake? Well, of course he proved he could do all those things as he would slide down the path on his ass, put the boat in the water, and walk back up to the house looking as if he merely had a stiff ankle. But, when he took his prothesis off, he would have to put the walker in front of him to remind him that he couldn’t just take off and walk or he would fall on his face. My husband and I went up to visit and we brought our beagle with us. As we were sitting with Grandpa one evening, he decided to take his prothesis off. Our beagle saw this, and you could see her little mind go; “WTF?! I’ve never seen that before!” She proceeded to sniff all over his stump, then all up and down his prosthesis. Then she basically gave a mental shrug: “I guess people can do that.” and lay down and took a nap and never paid any attention to it again.

    Many years later we rescued a four-year old German Shepherd/Lab mix who had lost his left front leg after being hit by a car when he was a puppy. While he ka-thunked around the house, when he was outside running, you couldn’t tell he was missing a limb. And he was fast. A neighbor’s doberman dared to enter his territory and he chased it down from behind and bit it in the ass. Out in the yard he would guard the kids, in the house he was a lovable, fur shedding tripod. And yes, he would occasionally lose his balance on the ice and fall on his face. But he just got up again. All this is to say, as much as we anthropomorphize our pets, there is much we can learn from them. They live in the moment. Cubby didn’t spend any time thinking about his lost limb (although when he would occasionally lick the ground next to him, I wondered if he had phantom pain) he just got on with it. Doing all that he could do. Living, loving and getting on with it.

    So, during the challenging times, when you fall on your face, get up again and “Get the fuck on with it, David.” (maybe get a t-shirt with that. 😀

    Wishing you and Cynthia all the best

  8. Hi David, I just wanted to send you my best wishes for a speedy recovery and adjustment to your new situation. We met briefly a good few years ago now when you came through Santa Fe, New Mexico on a trip and graciously invited whoever was around to join you for a coffee. Your humour and warmth in person matched your wisdom, humility and talent on the page, and I think of that morning fondly. Soon you’ll be back adventuring again I’m sure, and you’ve never stopped inspiring folks like me to think deeper about their creative work, and be brave enough to show their heart in it. For that and all you do, thanks so much!

  9. Hello David,
    Once again you amaze me with your bravery, your honesty, and your candid look at life. You continue to be a inspiration as a person and a photographer.
    I hope you have a speedy recover and wish you well as you learn and adapt to your new normal. I look forward to seeing you back in the field making new images.

    Best wishes and take care,

    PS… looking forward to reading the new monographs!

  10. Hi David,

    I have been off the web and disconnected for a couple weeks, so I’m late to this, but I must send my slightly late but deeply sincere heartfelt love and gratitude to you right now. For nearly 15 years, you’ve shown grace, humor, and absolute kindness to the world and me personally, and it’s so beautiful to see that all reflected back to you tenfold—deservedly so. Your gift as a storyteller brings us all along with your journey, whatever that journey has been over the years, and we’re invested in your beautiful humanity… you’ve got a world of positive energy flowing your way, to be sure. One of these days I’ll make it it out your way so I can finally bring you the beer with which I’ve been threatening you for a decade.

    Much love and support,


    1. Author

      See what kind of shenanigans happen when you go take your hand off the wheel and go away for a couple weeks? Total mayhem, Bob! 😉 Thank you for those very generous words. I’m humbled by your kindness. You come this way and I’ll buy the beer!

  11. You have inspired me and my photography all the way back with “Within the Frame.” Now your spirit inspires me. Losing a limb is a big deal, and your pain must have been severe for you to look forward to the amputation. Happy to hear that you are doing well, and I wish you the best in dealing with the rest of your recovery.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for that, Eugene. Means more to me that you can know. 🙏

  12. Wow you are an absolute inspiration. Amused that even when the going is tough you can find an amusing spin on it – i read the hospital bed monologue and could hear it in your wonderful tone of voice, eyes raised to heaven – despite god not helping the other patient i expect you asked for some deliverance! Just to say you continue to be an inspiration in all you do, and i am wishing you a healthy recovery – i know your determination and good humour will help – I’m sure you have your next photographic trip already planned as something to aim for.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Charlie. You’re absolutely right! I do have a next adventure planned. In late September I’m back into the northern interior of BC to photograph grizzly bears during the annual salmon run. And then in January, it’s back to Kenya for a month. I can’t wait. Those trips should prove my ability to travel both near and far, and after than I start scheming and dreaming!

  13. Hi David,
    I’m glad everything went well with the surgery and that, as usual, you manage to find the positive and funny in every situation. You are an inspiration to many of us for so many things!
    Hopefully, you’ll be up and exploring with your upgraded foot very soon.
    Can’t wait to meet again, somewhere on the planet.
    Lots of love,

    1. Author

      Thanks, Reto! Won’t be long and I’ll be back on my feet and better than before. Once I get this figured out a little I’ll start making plans for new adventures! I hope you’re well. Thanks so much for checking in on me.

  14. Leave it to you to make a comedy sketch from an amputation. You could also have had a one legged rubber chicken at your side for moral support. This is Jim Wilson,Ron’s buddy from Ladakh ’08. I enjoyed your new monographs and noticed a few from our trip in 08. Ron and I became fast friends on that trip and have since made many photo trips together even though we live far apart. You are our shared friend and we have often spoken of you and followed your career. I was very concerned at the time of your accident that your old way of life might be over but your recovery amazed me as it was a miracle. Little did I know about the pain you suffered in the ensuing years because you never mentioned it. Going forward will be better this time even though you will learn to walk a different way because the pain will subside and you will be free of that distraction. You have the right attitude and that is the most important thing. I wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to hearing of your progress.


    1. Author

      JIM! Hi! Wow, it’s been a while. How are you? I’m thrilled to hear you stayed in touch with Ron and have been traveling together. What a trip that was. I’m dying to get back to Ladakh some day. Thank you for your very kind words and encouragement. Right now the tunnel is a little dark and it’s hard to see the bright light of day on the other side, but I’m getting there. I may have nothing else, but I’ve got attitude, most of the time it leans towards laughter and hope. Thank you so much for saying hello! Best to you and Ron for future adventures!

  15. Hey David. Just jumping back in the comments again to check in. I hope you’re feeling ok. I wanted to send some happy wishes your way. Your tone is so optimistic and positive and I’m glad for that, but I know this is a really difficult time and situation. Remember to vent when you need to. I hope you’re talking this out. I’m really grateful for the guide, teacher and inspiration you’ve been to me. I’m a click away if you need someone to listen. Sometimes someone outside of the inner circle is easier to talk to. But don’t worry about replying. This is truly a community that is here for you without wanting anything in return. I’ll pop in again soon to say hi. Stay well!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Michele. Much appreciated. And I’ll take you up on the venting. Right now I’m experiencing phantom pains and my god are they distracting. Sharp zaps and stabs to the toes and the top and bottom of a foot I no longer have. It’s like my brain is trying to call my foot on the phone and, getting no answer, it’s leaving a series of increasingly hostile voice messages. Right now it’s yelling and using expletives and making threats. It helps to joke about it. It helps to work out and do my yoga. Last night a double Old Fashioned cocktail helped pretty good too. But honestly it’s pretty rough and I just want the meds to kick in and do their thing (which they are and I know this because I missed a dose and holy moly!) More accurately I want them to do their thing even better than they are. Still, so much to be grateful for. Thank you for asking.

      1. Even in pain, you are so funny! I forgot to mention. I read a novel called the Nest by Cynthia (good name, right?) D’Aprix. One of the characters has to have her foot amputated after a car accident. She experiences those phantom pains and she’s taught to use a mirror to scratch her absent foot. By scratching the existing foot, looking in the mirror, she teaches her brain to get rid of the itchiness in the other one. I’m guessing you probably already know about this, but I wanted to mention it anyway. I hope you’re having a good Saturday. Keep doing yoga and taking the meds and having old fashioneds(haha) and maybe even complain every now and then (ya know, for good measure). I’ll probably keep checking in. Feel free to ignore me as needed (insert laughing face). I’m rooting for you!

  16. Hey David,
    It is inspiring to hear your positive tone as you go through this new chapter in your life. I was telling my wife your story and she couldn’t get her head around the fact that you needed to have your foot removed from a fall many years ago and not because of from an injury in some war zone. Anyway, best foot forward, right? What I wanted to ask is what the new book will be about. I still frequently flip through Within the frame and The soul of the camera is as much an inspiration for moments of uncertainty as it is just a comforting book to have and hold.

    1. Author

      Best foot forward, indeed, William! The new book is tentatively called Light, Space, and Time. It’s a collection of essays about photography and creativity. I can’t tell you more because I don’t know much more than that. I’m 14 chapters in and it’s still figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. But it’ll feature my wildlife work and be a little larger than previous formats. I can’t wait to see it myself!

  17. Dear David, thank you for sharing your personal journey with us, as well as your photographic journey. We’ve never met but you have had a greater influence on my art than anyone I have met in person. Your constant guidance to follow my own creative muse has helped me embrace it. I think of your words not just as they apply to art but also to life. As you tell us, “no one sees like you do” and you have helped me to see that this works in life as well as in photography.

    I respect and appreciate your bravery in taking this step (get it?) and in sharing your journey. I wish you a speedy recovery and a life full of all the things that bring you joy.

    (and no, I didn’t think the PDF was an NFT 🙂 )

    1. Author

      Thank you so much, Elise. How strange it is to me that we can impact each other without ever having met face to face. I find that so miraculous. Thank you. And for your support in purchasing the monographs – someday soon I’ll be walking this world on a prosthesis that you have a partial share in! I’m so grateful!

  18. David, you will have many obstacles ahead of you but your interest in life and desire for perfection will carry you and your photography forward. Don’t give up, cry when you have to and we look forward to your progress and photos.

    All your supporters are there for you!



    1. Author

      Thank you, Joyce. It’s impossible to put into words my gratitude for the way this community is supporting me. I’m so humbled by the love. ❤️

  19. I am very sorry for what happened to you. I love your work and way of communicating your knowledge. It’s always interesting. Although I am French-speaking, I apply myself to understand everything you say. I appreciate google translate which allows me to write to you today. I am wholehartedly with you.

  20. Hi David!
    I read your first post over a week ago now. As I read, my mind replayed every step of the night in Pisa. You set your camera to a long exposure and asked me to watch it as you hopped over the wall to the ledge to take a walk and scout out possible photographs. Several minutes later a young Italian man came running along the top of the wall yelling to me, “Your friend, your friend, he is hurt!” I leaned over the wall and saw you curled up in a ball of pain and self-protection. Tears still come as I write this. My heart needed to wait a bit to write to you as the memory of what began this part of your life as a survivor is overwhelmingly emotional. The man said “your friend.” We had just met that night, not sure if we’d reached friend status yet but this many years later I want to say, “I’m proud of you friend.” You don’t talk about it often but the work you have done to survive, heal, and carry on is as inspirational, okay more inspirational, as anything you’ve done with a camera. Your decision to remove the rock from your shoe so to speak is brave not only because it’s downright scary but you are greeting your second half-ish of life by doing something to clear the obstacles of the first half. Bravo to both you and Cynthia for seeing the way! Cheering you on as you continue healing! Your friend, Anne

    1. Author

      Anne! It is so good to hear from you. Not many people had the front row to this fiasco that you had. I am still so embarrassed by that evening. What a gong show. Some photography workshop huh? “Ok, gather round, everyone. Lesson one is don’t do this!” (then instructor falls off wall. End scene.) 🤦🏻‍♂️ What a moron. Anyways, thank you. And yes, we are most certainly friends. Anyone who sticks around after that skips straight to the front of the line! Thank you for your perseverance. And many thanks for this encouragement and the kind words. What a journey it has been. Today is not the best of them, lots of phantom “sensations” that should really be called “phantom wasps stinging me over and over again on a foot that I no longer have.” It’s distracting to say the least. Hard to sleep (read almost impossible). But this will pass. And by the end of the month I should be partially weight bearing in my first temporary prosthesis. How’s that for amazing. Less than a month post-op and they’ll have me taking first steps toward walking. Miraculous. Thank you again, Anne. I’m touched. 😘

  21. You are what I consider to be a Friend in My Head. You know, one of those people you’ve never met but you feel like you’ve known them for a really long time… I’ve been learning from you for a decade or so I think -from whenever you did that Creative Live presentation on Vision. I downloaded the wallpapers and somehow brought a smile to my face that you had tagged your selections using Photo Mechanic. I use Green for my selects while you use Orange but it was a very small thing that sort of reinforced the Friend in My Head thing. Not sure if that makes any sense to you, or if it just makes sense to me. But in any event, stay well, my friend (in my head).

    1. Author

      Thank you for that John. If the Friend in Your Head gets loud or abnoxious I’ve found a couple drams (large drams, more like glasses) of whisky will shut him really good. Just a pro tip for you there. LOL. Seriously, thank you for that. Much appreciated. Funny my images came tagged as orange, not sure why would be. Perhaps a temporary tag just to indicate 16×9 wallpapers for this application. I usually use flags or 5 stars or a mix of both. And Lightroom, not PhotoMechanic, but these are unimportant details. Sounds like we’re after the same thing. Will do my best to remain in your head, but don’t forget that whisky trick if I get to be too much! 🙂 Thank you again. 🙏

  22. Hi David,

    You look like you are recovering well from the image on your couch. However, I know it has been a long and difficult struggle. You are on the other side now, the side of light and hope.

    I missed my Kenya trip in December but am now signed up for a January/February 2024 trip to Tanzania with my friend John Sorensen. I have an extra “g” in the protein sequence on gene ABHD8 on Chromosome 19. This makes my muscle tight and the lipid catabolism of fats in the muscle cell inefficient. The muscle tightness squeezes my narrow space between L4 and L5, especially when the psoas muscle tightens. The last three winters, I had burning feet, sciatic pain, and could not walk and exercise. After six months of physical therapy, I am better now and photographing again. The key is to keep stretching, or I might have back surgery.

    I am saying this to you because I can empathize with your health journey. For two years, when I herniated my disk, I was in agony for most of this period. I thought I would never get better.

    Thanks for letting us know about your health journey, and I am sure we all look for more of your insights into the photographic process and all things photography.

    By the way, I still have to review your lessons. Please don’t give up on me… I will try harder because you are right; it is about the journey.

    I would love to hear your thoughts about AI, a topic for a future blog post. Someone sent this to me yesterday about the future of humanity with AI.

    All the best,


    1. Author

      Bruce, it sounds like you’ve been on a hell of a ride. Here I was feeling sorry for myself over some phantom pains and I read your comment and it reminds me we’re all dealing with something. I’m thrilled to hear you’re able to get to East Africa this coming Winter. We’ll be there, though on different sides of the border, at the same time. Thanks for the AI link – I’ll take a look. My general feeling / thinking is that we need some regulation on this ASAP before it gets out of control and we can’t stuff Pandora back in the box, though that’s coming from someone who has always worried about technopoly (cf. Neil Postman).

  23. It is obvious what an impact you make on the world of photography and most specifically on those of us who follow you and are your students. Thank you for your honesty, your vulnerability and your humor in this most difficult of times. You are an inspiration to us all and I am grateful for your presence here in the world! Keep hanging in there, finding joy in the midst of of the dark times and humor in it all.

    I’ve enjoyed the books you offered and am inspired by those as well.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Deborah. Joy in the midst of dark times is the secret isn’t it? We wait for conditions to be bright and shiny, not a cloud in the sky, before we find joy, we’ll be waiting a lifetime. Thanks for the encouragement!

  24. Dear “Beloved of the Path” (as I always think whenever I see your name!)

    Your story is such an inspiration. After so many years of dealing with such a profound injury, you are on the healing path now.

    I started following you and your work several years ago. Thank you for so many beautiful images, great teaching and all your writing. Looking forward to more to come!

    Sending you gentle hugs, and all best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    1. Author

      Hi Roseanne You’re the first person to ever put those name meanings together. I’ve often though how appropriate my last name is, “of the path / road” seems just right for my life. “Beloved one” is a harder one to use without being super self conscious. LOL. Thank you so much for the kind encouragement. May we be on this path together for a very long time to come!

  25. David,
    On behalf of the S. Whidbey Photography club, we ALL are thinking of you and sending healing prayers for you. We wish you strength and courage along with good healing.
    There is hope for the future. You have so many people who deeply care about you and support you.

    Julie Boyd

    1. Author

      Hi Julie – Thank you! Please extend my love and gratitude to the club!I am so overwhelmed by the support and kindness.

  26. David — thanks for the sharing. Thanks for the humor. There are many ways to get thru difficult times, but friendship, love, and humor are some of the best. I think you have all of them!

    Ahhh, multi-bed rooms, it’s been a few yrs since I have been in one of those, and fortunately not since childhood as a patient myself. I don’t miss them, even from the foot of the bed, and your roommates are exactly why. Hang in there.

    I tell patients all the time that the surgery is the easy part, and the hard part is on you (the patient) and yet to come (therapy). However, the hard part came and went years ago and was completed with your decision to proceed with the amp. The next few months won’t be “easy” but they will be much easier than your past!!

    Thanks for the monographs! Speedy recovery and keep finding reasons to laugh.

    1. Author

      Hi Kim! Thanks so much for dropping by. I’m embarrassed to say the hospital I was in would have given you shivers. It gave me shivers and I’m not even a doctor! But I’m home now and other than the zaps and twinges of phantom pain/sensation things are going well. Things on crutches take so much extra effort. I’ll be glad when I’m on my feet again!

  27. Davidddddd! I’ve been keeping up with your progress via your better half 🙂 and was very happy to hear all went well, aside from your roommate drama. I know this decision was not easy for either of you, but not carrying the weight of that should make you light on your feet again (if you can make a joke lost foot joke, then so can I…right?!? ) Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery and lots of new adventures ahead with new enthusiasm and more pep in your step (again, I know)! Xx

    1. Author

      Lisssssaaaaa! Hi! All jokes are currently welcome. I let you know when they’ve been too many times and my first reaction rather than laughter is to reach for a sharp stick. Thanks for the note. Much appreciated. Lots of phantom pains right now – lots of zaps and twinges that take me by surprise. Not the most fun ever, but I’m told it’s usually temporary while the brain sorts some shit out. I’ll be back at it in no time. 🤞

  28. David, best wishes for a speedy recovery and adaptation to your “new foot.”

    I’ve enjoyed your work and thoughts…every now and then thinking “when will he be finished?” But good stuff.

    Your hospital room reminded me of my hernia operation, more than a few years ago, when I was 12. I had a self-proclaimed comedian in the bed next to me and laughing and/or coughing was the worst thing in the world.

    I feel your pain.

    1. Author

      Larry, you and I had similar experiences! I was a little older, perhaps 20, when I had a hernia surgery and my step-father would come in during visiting hours and put M*A*S*H on the TV and I would hold a pillow over my stomach and laugh and beg him to change the channel. In hindsight it wasn’t a nice thing to do! Thanks for the memory and the good wishes.

  29. Hi David- I’m so happy your surgery was successful and you can move forward onto recovery. I started following your work shortly after your fall in Italy. I was an aspiring photographer at the time and though I didn’t get far with my photography, I continued to follow your work and your words. Your point of view and how you share it are always meaningful and thought provoking. Take good care of yourself… sending love and light to help you keep that positive attitude going!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jill. That means the world to me. I’ll take all the love and light I can handle. 😉

  30. Hi David,
    I feel so bad for not reaching out sooner, but to be honest your first blog post left me shocked and quite devastated, and I simply didn’t know what to say. Now, after a bit of space and your update, I see that you really made the best decision for you given the situation you found yourself in. I’m so sorry that the pain in your foot and then having to sit with this amputation decision for so long must have taken such a toll on you (and Cynthia). And yet, despite this, you have continued to be your usual smart, creative, funny, and truly kind self. I truly hope you heal fast, don’t have too many bad days, and can’t wait to hear the next installment. When I met you in Oaxaca (10 yrs ago?) I believe you had just put that axe through your foot, so you were hobbling around then. I hope this isn’t too soon, but when I read you were having your foot amputated all I could wonder was if you were going to donate your big toe to that strange place you went to drink – with big toes in the bottom of the glass! Hope that humour isn’t too soon.

    Love to you and your family from me and my family here in New Zealand xx

    1. Author

      Donna! OK. First, let’s get things straight. The Sour Toe Cocktail to which you refer had no “toes” in the bottom of the glass, but “toe.” Singular. This made it no less disgusting, but accuracy is important. And yes, i did in fact consider donating my own toe for a long time (of course I did!) before I realized what a pain in the ass that would be (though I plan to drive to the arctic circle next summer and would be able to bring said toe if I wanted to). I’m not sure I’m (read Cynthia) up to keeping my toe in the house for the next year. But I love that you remembered that. Now, to more important things. Hi! I am so sorry I caused you distress, but I promise it’s all for the better and I am so relieved to have it done. I’m making good progress and should be in an initial temporary prosthesis and partially weight bearing by the end of this month. Amazing. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years but I remember our time together so well. Tell your girls the tooth fairy says hello and that, no, they are NOT too old to believe in the tooth fairy! 🙂 Thank you for checking in. Love from Vancouver Island. xo

  31. I can not add to words already written. It really has been said before me.

    So lean on me for the next km or two.

    I can carry you till the next of many step up.

    1. Author

      Hi Jim, you should have chimed in way earlier with this offer. People were commenting way faster. Right now you could be carrying me for an hour or two. I hope you packed snacks! (Snappy comment provided by long day and one of Cynthia’s Old Fashioneds. LOL. No, I’m kidding. Definitely TWO of her Old Fashioneds). 😉 Thank you for your kindness.

  32. So Happy to hear the surgery went well and your sense of humor is still intact. Thinking and praying for a full and speedy recovery for you. Please keep up your strength and humor!!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Mary. No danger of my humour going missing,. I was very clear, “take the foot, not the funny bone!” 🙂 Sorry, that wasn’t my best attempt at humour. It’s been a day, as the kids are saying now. I’ll take the offer of full and speedy, though, thank you!

      1. Bon rétablissement David !

        Je suis heureux d’apprendre que malgré la difficulté et la douleur tout c’est bien réalisé pour cette opération.

        Une chose est certaine, pour l’avenir tu ne pourras que te lever du bon pied, pour la suite de tes aventures ( ahum… Humour 😅).

        Prend soin de toi David, tes enseignements mon permis de voir que tu es quelqu’un de mentalement fort (on ne se connaît pas mais j’ai tout tes ouvrages à la maison ! ), et c’est maintenant que tu dois montrer au monde entier cette force que tu as ! 🙂

        A très bientôt je l’espère, j’ai hâte de pouvoir te voir reprendre du service et de lire tes prochains bon conseils en photographie.

        Je ne suis pas très doué pour écrire des messages d’encouragement tu m’excusera je l’espère de ce manque d’originalité (mais sincère).

  33. David!!! What a shock I just got reading this!! You probably don’t remember me but my son Ben and I attended your conference on Vancouver Island in summer 2013 and you’re the reason I switched to Fuji 🤔. Only to find out you’ve switched to Sony but I’ll stick with Fuji ( for now)
    You are so brave! It sounds like this was the only option and last resort but brave nevertheless. Prosthetics are so advanced now you’ll be two-stepping before you know it. You have such a wonderful and positive attitude and that’s half the battle won. I hope your recovery continues well and I’m looking forward to more updates when you feel up to it. Take care!
    Best wishes as always
    Jo Belfort

    1. Author

      Hi Jo! I remember you very well, though I don’t recall ever doing something on Vancouver Island. You sure it wasn’t in Vancouver or even London? Either way, I remember you and am so grateful you dropped in now. Sorry for the Sony switch, it was entirely because I changed what I was doing not because Fujifilm changed. If I were doing mostly street photography now I probably never would have switched. I look forward to the promised two-stepping. I couldn’t do it before so it will be a relief to be able to finally pull it off! Thank you! 🙏😘

  34. So glad to hear all went well, despite the strange recovery experience with your neighbors. Yet it makes for a laugh later doesn’t it? Are they at least letting you cremate your foot for it’s funeral? 🙂 Wishing you a speedy recovery & beautiful transition into all this newness.

    1. Author

      A laugh for later? Sure, but I’ve been ahead of the curve and just laughing at it now. I’ve never been good at delayed gratification. LOL. They did the cremation for me as the thought of lugging my foot around for a week without refrigeration just didn’t appeal to me. But I said my goodbyes. Thank you for your kind words, Stasia. I’ll take speedy and beautiful anyday, especially when everyone tells me I can only have one or the other. 🙂 Seriously, thank you for the good humour and the kind wishes.

  35. There’s that smile! That hospital stay must have been surreal. Glad you’re home and hope the pain is easing each day. Looking forward to seeing you healed, fitted and back out making more beautiful art. Warmest regards, Cindy.

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, Cindy. I think my smile got even bigger after the surgery. Knowing it was behind me was such a big relief. Now I can get on with getting on, you know? The pain is easing, for sure, though it is not insignificant. I am about to run through my prescribed course of opioids and after that I’m on my own with Tylenol, so ask me tomorrow! 🙂 I should be partially weight bearing in a temporary prosthesis by the end of the month! Fingers crossed.

  36. Let’s stay positive. Everything will go fine and soon you’ll be walking on your bionic foot. And for sure, one thing will always be there, the very deep pleasure of photography.

    1. Author

      Thank you for that, Colette. ‘Positive’ is my middle name! Actually, it’s ‘Ernest’ but I think that’s Icelandic or Zulu for ‘Positive’. I think I read that somewhere. 😜

  37. When I read last weeks post I was blown away by what a difficult decision you had to make. What courage that took!
    I’m grateful to hear recovery is going well. Will be thinking of you over the coming weeks and months. Look forward to your updates.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Heather. Sometimes it feels like courage, other times it feels like fear of the alternatives. Either way, it took a long time to get to the decision, and even longer not to wonder if I would duck out at the last moment. I’m glad it’s all done though, because now I can stop thinking, “do i? Don’t I? Do I? Don’t I?” I was losing my mind. Things feel much saner now. Now it’s not courage I need but patience and, Oh Lord, is that a tall order… 😉

  38. Hi David. Thank you for the update and it is great news that all is going well so far and you are looking to a great future. We purchased your monograph set and love it. You have always been such an inspiration in so many ways. Hang in there and we will be looking forward to what ever information you feel inspired to share. Our prayers and good wishes are with you. Teri

    1. Author

      Hi Teri – Thanks so much for that. All well here, though I’m sick of this couch already. My prosthetist says things look great and I could be / should be into my first temporary prosthetic leg and partially weight bearing by the end of this month. So it’s all looking very promising. A long challenging summer, but in hindsight I think it will feel like it all happened very quickly. 🙂

  39. David
    I’ve been wanting to contact you for years because I’ve known about your writing and eBooks since 2010. I really appreciate what you do. Due to a lack of time, language, but mainly due to neglect and finding it difficult to connect to blogs …
    I read at one point that you had had an accident and I’m very sad that this has now led to the amputation of your right foot from your calf. I am so happy that your surgery went well.
    I hear your physical suffering and send you my compassion from Mauritius through positive vibrations from the tropics.
    I marvel at your courage and your ability to look to the future with clarity and the hope that as soon as possible you will be able to set off again on the road to new encounters with your camera. Thank you for this message of hope, of the best in you.
    As a woman of prayer, I carry you through this difficult time and entrust you to the Divine.
    One of my passions is inter-religious dialogue, which can be seen at the following links:

    Peace be with you

  40. Hi David,

    Sending you huge love and healing thoughts from London. Hearing about your difficult journey through your insights and great humour is truly humbling, thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts with us. I have learnt such a huge amount from you about photography and life, you are an absolute inspiration. All my very best wishes, Kate

    1. Hi David, so glad to read this update. I’ve been thinking of you and hoping all was going well. Sending well wishes for your continued recovery and your triumphant return to activities, Jocelyn 😀

      1. Author

        Thank you, Jocelyn! All well here and after my visit to my prosthetic clinic yesterday it looks like I could be in my first temporary prosthetic leg and partially weight bearing by the end of this month. How miraculous is that? It’ll be a long summer, but it will go quickly as time always does. Thanks for the hopes and wishes. I’ll happily lean on them all.

  41. Hi David – It’s Dave Vernon from Central Illinois where you came and spoke to our camera club many moons ago and I was your chauffeur. Anyway – thanks for the updates – you made, I think from this distance – a good choice. Get busy living. I have a cat with only three paws – so you’re in good company. She seems happy all the time and loves chasing balls at full speed – so your future is bright. Best of luck in the rehab – and continue kicking ass!

    1. Author

      Hi David! I remember you well. Funny, I had a 3-legged cat too. She was amazing. Best little rabbit hunter (I hated that) ever. She found a way to not only make up for what she was missing but to amplify it. I’ve never met a more amazing cat. So I have hope that I too will be back to chasing strings and napping in sunbeams in no time! 🙂 I hope you’re well. Give my regards to the Pretoria club if you’re still there.

  42. What an epic decision to have to confront. I am so glad that the operation was successful. Imagine now all the wonderful photography trips ahead of you. I am fairly new to yr work. Heard about you from one of my photography friends, and a few days later literally “found” your book “the print and the process” on my bookshelf at home (I had purchased it at my local library book fair a few months back). Have now read that and have literally just downloaded “the heart of the photograph” which will be coming with me to Norway in a few weeks. Wishing you the very best for fast recovery and lots of fun and happy anticipation in planning your next photography adventure. Best wishes from Sydney Australia.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Wendy. Welcome to the tribe. You won’t find a community of more creative, thoughtful, and kind people anywhere else on the internet. I hope you have an amazing adventure in Norway. I won’t be too far behind you in getting back out into the world again. Travel well! (And I hope The Heart of the Photograph brings you good things, new ideas and approaches to your craft. Let me know!)

  43. I’ve taken several classes from you and many years ago I was the lucky recipient of a signed copy of “Seven.” I feel like we are old friends, even though you don’t know me. I just wanted to express my thanks to you for being such an inspiration, both in photography and in life. I wish you wellness, happiness, and joy.

    1. Author

      Thank you, old friend. I feel the same way even though I can’t explain it. It’s a sense or feeling of connection to the very real people that have walked this journey with me for so long. Thank you! I am a lucky, lucky man.

  44. Dear David (I’ve been following your work for so many years that I feel we should be on a first-name basis),

    I read your first notes about your decision to have your foot amputated a few days ago. It was shocking to say the least.

    It was so wonderful to see your smiling face on your blog post today. After reading your recent comments, I have no doubt that you are going to overcome all difficulties with flying colors. Mental approach is the majority of winning any battle, as I’m sure you know. And obviously, your sense of humor hasn’t been impacted–I love that!!

    As you get stronger and go through the healing process, remember that all of your fans are pulling for you to make a full recovery and resume all of your former activities.

    Prayers and virtual hugs.


    1. Author

      Emily, (see, first name basis! You call me Mr. duChemin and I’ll think you’re trying to sell me something. 😉 )

      Thank you for this. It”s hard to put into words how supported and loved I feel, and how amazing I think that is since so many of us have never met face to face.

      My sense of humour is unaffected by all this and you are correct about my approach which many in my close circle have always thought was a little mental. 🤪

      Thank you so much for your kindness, prayers, and virtual hugs. Consider the hugs virtually reciprocated.

  45. Hi David,

    we wish you all the best. We both followed your ideas, suggestions and encouragement quite a while. I participated in your courses imageWork and imageStory. It was a great pleasure and my wife and I are now taking another kind of photographs as before.
    We see different things and we make different photos from the same scene. We are happy to do so, to make our one work, to make our one rules how to photograph. Thank you very much for this.

    We wish you happiness, security and contentment in your heart

    Greetings from Germany
    Gretl and Mark

    1. One Foot in the Grave? – Perhaps
      The Last Leg of the Journey? too limiting, should be NEXT leg of the Journey?
      There are a lot of folks out there who place the journey of being handicap as the next Epoc in their lives. I have taken photos over the last 10+ years of disabled Veterans competing in sporting events at the Regional level (Valor Games in the U.S.). These included men and women who are wheelchair bound and others fitted with modern prosthetics. These physically and mentally “wounded warriors” who have no or limited use of their leg(s), one arm, both arms, are blind and combinations thereof. Some have gone on to compete at the National, International and World Games. In Canada these include the Valour Games, Invictus, and local competitions, AND THEY ARE SUPER COMPETITORS. You have taught us how to follow our passion, be tuned into what makes us tick, and how we can develop our life’s insights no matter the starting point. I wish the best for you as you begin your Next Journey.

      1. Author

        Thanks, Ted! I think you’ve captured well the spirit with which I am approaching this. It will be a fight at times and one I am eager to undertake. These things make us stronger and I plan to lean into that. Thank you!

    2. Author

      Danke, Mark & Gretl! Thank you for your kind words.. Your wished for happiness, security, and contentment are already coming true. I am surrounded by wonderful people like you. Thank you!

  46. David, I’m a little behind in things due to some crazy stuff going on in my life. That said, you are an inspiration and I just know you will find your new path without much trouble…well, aside from becoming good friends with your prosthesis. You must give him / her a name! Recently, I’ve watched people in the public arena – politicians and actors – share their journey around their health issues. Jamie Raskin, a U.S. Congressman from Maryland and Jeff Bridges (American actor). Both have told stories that lift you up and make you realize how much we’re all alike even though our careers, socioeconomic backgrounds and mission in life. We all experience fear, joy, love, sadness, etc. Like so many others, I’m wishing you the best outcome.

    1. Author

      Kate, thank you for the kind words. I hope the crazy stuff is manageable. Maybe we can root for each other to get through it and back to doing what we love with fewer concerns and limitations. 🙂 As for my prosthesis, I was at the clinic yesterday and I could be in a temporary prosthesis and partially weight-bearing by the end of the month! That seems pretty miraculous to me.

  47. Hi David,

    I have been following you and learning from you since 2017 over the internet. I hope to be able to attend one of your workshops in person in the coming months. Best wishes for a complete recovery after the procedure, and looking forward to seeing you chasing moments and inspiring us through your writings and your words. BTW, the monographs are superb!

    Take care, David!


    1. Delighted to hear it has gone well so far (excluding crazy hospital room mates) Sending the good energy and best wishes for continued recovery and momentum onto the world of prosthetics. Mariann

    2. Author

      Thank you, Mahresh! Once I’m up and about I will begin planning new workshop opportunities!

  48. Dear David,
    I’m a bit behind on things and have just read your recent stories. I’m just gobsmacked; you are so brave to make this decision, and you must have been so frightened with the “what if’s”. And now it’s done and you can move on.
    A while back you reached out to me on an email responding to my doubts about what I do and it’s my turn to now send you hope and healing wishes, strength and stamina. You are a bundle of goodness. I understand a wee bit of what it might be like; I have ligament reconstruction and an internal brace put into an ankle. I have a connective tissues disorder and it had been wearing out a few years and I’ve taken a number of falls. I wobble still, but keep going albeit more carefully. You’ll be even better.
    I’ll never forget how you cheered me and I do now say that I am a photographer rather than just saying it’s a passionate hobby. It’s not my day job…but it’s my life’s mission. The channelling of beauty.
    And as one of my besties always reminds me, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down!”
    All the best,

    1. Author

      Mardelle! Thank you SO much for this. Not only for the encouragement, but for the new motto: David duChemin, a bundle of goodness. I’m putting that on my business cards. LOL. Kidding. Sort of. That gave me a laugh, but this:

      “It’s not my day job…but it’s my life’s mission. The channeling of beauty.”

      What a beautiful thought. I’ll take a life mission over a day job any day. That’s why I do what I do, it’s a calling. And the channeling of beauty? Oh, we should all be so lucky to spend our days doing that. That is a life well lived!

      Thank you for the very kind words, and for being part of this. It’s blowing my mind and making my recovery so much lighter and easier. Thank you!! 😘

  49. David,

    I attended one of your seminars in downtown Vancouver. It was not long after your fall; your you were walking with a cane and your foot was in a boot. At the time you had changed your career from being a comedian to photographer. It one of the most special seminars I’ve attended. You were funny, witty, and most important you made to material simple to understand. Over the years I’ve taken I’ve ordered a lot of your materials and have purchased several of your videos. Thank you.

    I can only imagine how much pain you were in. No doubt the time will fly and soon you will be pain free.

    1. Author

      Hi Pat, well you’ve been putting up with my shenanigans for a while then, haven’t you. You are a patient, long suffering soul and I salute you. 🫡 😂 Seriously, thank you. Thank you for being part of this and for telling you it means something to you. I’m so grateful. What a beautiful community of wonderful people I find myself surrounded by. I’m a lucky, lucky man.

  50. Hi David,
    So glad to read about the madhouse, you painted a lovely picture. I was picturing you listening to Floyd’s Brain Damage, and the lyrics” the lunatic is in my head”, while the madness persisted.
    I have shared your link in a couple of groups and I’m working on getting the word out to a couple of people with a wider reach. I’m heading back to the Mara in November this year. Did Amboseli last November and had a wonderful hour with Craig. Thinking of heading to Lewa for a week after the Mara. Will keep you posted. Keep up the positive attitude and and gratitude for what you have!!
    To a speedy recovery…………….Brian

    1. Author

      Brian – You nailed it. That was exactly one of the songs I listened to. I find myself green with envy at your new of returning to the mara. I’ll be back there a couple months after you. Amboseli, Lewa, Solio, Maasai Mara. Can’t wait!! Say hi to the beasties for me.

  51. I’m a new subscriber, alerted to your site by a friend. I’m happy to see your recovery is in full motion. I think the processes and methods that are used now for people without full mobility are amazing, and I pray you find the best fit for you. The phantom pains/itches have always fascinated me, so hopefully you will relate how you deal with them. I think your positive attitude is going to get you through this along with your large support group!

    1. Author

      Hi Shar, welcome here! Things are normally this dramatic, I promise! 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind note of encouragement. You’re right, it is a very large support group, and that support goes in all directions. By some miracle I find myself at the center of one of the most generous, kind, and creative people on the internet. Thank you for joining us!

  52. Hi David, I was so pleased to receive your email today and see your smiling face. When I received your first email I was so upset, my short message of support was all I could manage. You have been in my thoughts all week. Hearing how well you are recovering and how positive you are, you are an inspiration to us all.
    I love the new monographs and photos and this week I’ve been catching up on some of your Masterclasses I hadn’t previously watched. Your wisdom, kindness and humanity shines through everything you do, and I admire the honesty and forthright way you have approached your most recent challenge.
    I look forward to your next book and thank you for being part of my creative journey. And of course we mustn’t forget Cynthia who is bearing this with you and I’m sure a tower of strength. I send you both my very sincere and best wishes.

    1. Author

      Hi Claire! What a kind note. Thank you. I’m truly sorry for the upset. But that you care so much blows my mind. We must all be doing something right together here on the internet where business as usual includes rancor and discord. Thank you too for acknowledging Cynthia. She’s been my superhero in all this and continues to do all the little things I never thought of before this started, like carrying my coffee to the sofa or bringing my laptop, Basically if I can’t hold it with my teeth, carrying things on my crutches is a challenge and shes there every time. Of course she’s probably got a Costco-sized bottle of tequila in the drawer of her desk, too… 🙂 Thank you. Claire! 🙏

  53. oh Lord, how brave you are! i can’t even think how is it… cannot tell i feel you (as we often do say, unfortunately…. you can feel it only if you been there….) but i’m happy it has been successful and you feel better and better…!
    Good luck, recover fast, take your time…. fingers crossed! Looking forward to next good news….

    1. Author

      Thank you, Michal. Everything is going so well. My scars are healing and the staples should come out next week. I have my first appointment with my prosthetist this afternoon, as well. And the pain gets less day by day. I feel like this is all going faster than expected, for which I am truly grateful!

      1. that’s actually great news! let it be that way! 🙂
        sending lots of good energy to you and to your closets (Cynthia in 1st place)… looking for more good updates to come.
        cheers David!

  54. Hi David,

    Sorry to be late to “the party”, but my mom passed away a some 10 days ago, so I was a bit preoccupied. She was 91 and, although I will miss her, it is OK, she had a good life and was at peace with it. I hope you will recover as soon as possible and get back to a good life too. I am a long-time follower, bought some of your books and both the Created Image Video series 1 & 2. Despite all your help I still find the tech of photography easier than the artistic/vision side, but that is on me – not your fault ;-). I will get the latest offer too, not that I expect it will immediately make a big difference in my creativity/artistry, but I am sure I will enjoy reading and studying them!

    Once again: speedy recovery, and thanks for all the sympathetic messages you have been distributing to the world. It does make it a better place.

    Best Regards, Hugh

    1. Author

      Oh, Hugh, I am so sorry. Even at 92 there is no good time to lose the people we love. Thank you for finding these words of encouragement for me even in your grief. I’m honoured.

  55. Hi David. What a terrible story. But the cheerful way you are living through it is an example to your readers. Good food for thought. I wish you a lot of courage and energy for the future, and hope you can still motivate us in photography (and other challenges in our lives).
    Go on, Daniel

    1. Author

      Thank you, Daniel! Don’t worry about me still motivating others, I have a feeling this will only fan the flames and make me more intolerable about this stuff. LOL

  56. David You are a very brave man . Your letter quite shocked me to think that all the while you have been there helping others with their photography you have been in constant pain.
    I am happy to hear all went well with your operation and am sure you will be back behind the lens before too long
    I wish you all the very best for a wonderful recovery
    Kindest of wishes

    1. Thank you for sharing your deep and personal journey. I have been thinking of you so much and was happy to get your latest update and the photo. Glad you are home now! I did not know about your accident or what you have been through with your foot since. It sounds like it was an exceptionally painful and all consuming time. I can only imagine the stress and emotions around your decision and the loss you must be feeling. But through your sharing I know you are feeling it and that this will support you to fully embrace all that is ahead. I am so impressed by your openness with your journey and with your positivity, beautiful writing and your humour.

      I look forward to hearing updates on your new leg. I used to be a PT and know that when you get adjusted to your prosthetic, as you have been told, it will provide you with more mobility and then you can get back to doing what you love! Just make sure you take the time and space you need with it all.

      I wanted to mention that I recently directed on an Apple TV+ children’s show called Best Foot Forward. It is based on the memoir of Paralympic athlete Josh Sundquist (just the point when he was 12 years old). I was so impressed with the young 12 year old actor who played the lead in this series (he has a prothetic leg and had never acted before the show, but took the role as he wanted to see more people like him on TV) I am now friends with Josh -wonderful human and he posts some great and fun content on instagram if you want to check it out at some point. His memoir is called Just Don’t Fall.

      Also, a huge thank you for all your brilliant teachings and courses. I so appreciate how thoughtful and generous you are with your process and I have learned so much from you!! I am currently doing the latest course and it is fantastic. And I hope to travel with you at some point in the future 🙂

      Sending you much love, healing, and positive energy for the next steps in your journey.


      1. Author

        Hi Anne. Thank you for this. As a PT you know better than many what I’m going through and what incredible mobility is possible with a BKA prosthesis. I am in awe of the many amputees whose stories I read. In fact when I was in recovery in Ottawa 12 years ago my PT made me play badminton (badminton!) with others on my ward, all of them single and double amputees. I was the only one with his original parts. And they kicked my ass and cleaned the floor with me. I still don’t like badminton but have so much respect for anyone who comes back from losing legs and arms, and such gratitude for what technology now makes possible. Thanks, too, to so many supporters, I’ll be able to do better than a wooden peg leg! 🙂 Thank you, again., Anne. 🙏 I would love to travel with you!

    2. Author

      Thank you for that, Carol. I’m not sure if I’m brave or just know where to dig for courage when I need it, but thank you. I have found that being grateful and focusing on others is a better painkiller than anything else. It seems so cliche, but over and over I have found it to be true. Lucky for me there seems to be no shortage of people willing to let me be part of their lives and serve them in some way. 😉 Thank you!

  57. Your previous email left me without words. I wanted to comment but just couldn’t get around to it. The tone of this email confirms what I was hoping for – that your positive attitude and sense of humour would help you through this traumatic experience. (I know how I’ve felt on loosing a tooth so I can’t begin to imagine what this is like.)
    I heard an interview on BBC 4 with a 90+ year old lady who was having to give up her home and artist’s studio to move to sheltered accommodation. Her response to the interviewer’s question about this loss was that she saw it as enabling. The move would free her to continue with her art not deprive her of it, as she lived more safely and with some of her day to day difficulties removed.
    I’m sure you have some difficult times ahead – determined positivity is sometimes elusive but I am sure that if there is a way for you to continue to make photographs you will do it. I am loving your course “The Compelling Frame” and always enjoy your photographs so I’m looking forward to examining your monographs. All good wishes for your recovery.

    1. I am thinking about you and Cynthia a lot. When your first email came in I was in complete shock. I had no idea about you severe problems, even though I knew about your accident. You lead such an active life that the thought never even entered my head. Of course I bought the monographs… who wouldn’t want to have those fantastic images. I love especially your latest images from Kenya. The light and softness of those images are just out of this world! Thank you for those 🙏🏻 I still regret that Covid stole that India trip with you from me. Get better and keep on smiling! Fate has a funny way of dealing it’s cards. I strongly believe that one should take action when something isn’t quiet right. Everything is better than living with constant pain. You‘ve got this 😉 A new era is on its way!

    2. I am thinking about you and Cynthia a lot. When your first email came in I was in complete shock. I had no idea about you severe problems, even though I knew about your accident. You lead such an active life that the thought never even entered my head. Of course I bought the monographs… who wouldn’t want to have those fantastic images. I love especially your latest images from Kenya. The light and softness of those images are just out of this world! Thank you for those 🙏🏻 I still regret that Covid stole that India trip with you from me. Get better and keep on smiling! Fate has a funny way of dealing it’s cards. I strongly believe that one should take action when something isn’t quiet right. Everything is better than living with constant pain. You‘ve got this 😉 A new era is on its way!

      1. Author

        Good morning, Sabine. Thank you for this kind note. It was so nice to see your name pop out among so many. Yes, we were robbed of India. I hope to one day correct that. And thank you for the kind words about the monographs. I feel like my Kenya work is some of my strongest. It feels “right” to me. Like I finally found my voice where wildlife is concerned. Thank you! Here’s to the new era! 🥂🦿

      2. Wild Geese | Mary Oliver
        You do not have to be good.
        You do not have to walk on your knees
        for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
        You only have to let the soft animal of your body
        love what it loves.
        Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
        Meanwhile the world goes on.
        Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
        are moving across the landscapes,
        over the prairies and the deep trees,
        the mountains and the rivers.
        Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
        are heading home again.
        Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
        the world offers itself to your imagination,
        calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
        over and over announcing your place
        in the family of things.

        I am not good with words but Mary Oliver is. There is hope and beauty in this world and this family of people you have created. May you see the beauty in your days. The love and wisdom you share are needed in this place. Prayers for speedy healing to you.

        1. Author

          Thank you Yvette. I made it all through the day without tears, but Mary Oliver has a way of doing that with me. Thank you for your very kind note. I’m so grateful. 🙏

    3. David, your story leaves me speechless! Thank you for sharing your experience but especially for sharing your vulnerability and fear. We are all humans but so often we don’t share these deep visceral emotions. Having survived the death of a child many years ago, I know and believe that these traumas have much power in them. It involves going into the pit of despair and loneliness but it’s there we regain our strength for living stronger, more meaningful lives. My hope and prayer for you is strength and support for your journey. Best wishes and thanks for all you do and especially for who you are!

      1. Author

        Madeleine, I am so sorry for your loss. That’s a high price to pay for resilience and meaning. But it’s life, isn’t it? Harsh, and unfair, certainly unpredictable, but it gives us the chance to respond and to grow in courage and faith, and somehow even gratitude. I find it interesting that the most grateful people are the ones dealt the hardest hands, not those who have it easy. There’s something in that. Thank you for the very kind and generous words. Best to you. 🙏😘

    4. Author

      Hi Teresa! Sorry for the shock. I know you weren’t alone. Taking a couple days to process and find the words is always a good response. I’m sorry I am putting you all through it, but that’s only an indication of how close we’ve become – a miracle when I think of it. I haven’t even met the majority of these people, you included, and still there’s so much love. That’s miraculous. You’re right, there are challenges ahead. But that would be true with or without the surgery I just had. The question is which challenges would I prefer to wrestle with, and which rewards do I choose to fight for. If I get those clear the positivity is easily found and hung on to! Thank you again!

  58. Hello David. Life does take difficult turns at times affecting our futures. Yet, within these life changing events, we humans learn to cope in the new disposition. Hopefully your picture taking isn’t over, just a little hampered but we learn to adjust. New doors open to those that look for opportunities, not to lament upon the past.

    Build upon your great communications skills, keep looking for ways to encourage fellow photographers to reach out and develop themselves for the better. There is so much more for you to do in the world of photography.

    From a photographic point of view, the shutter is set just a little slower, the aperture is just great focussing upon the day and into the foreseeable future. Remember your ISO, set it higher (more sensitive) so see your future directions.

    Wishing you all the best for the future and many more newsletters, emails, courses and images to be shared. Thank you. We are all on your journey, though not necessarily in the same boots.

    Best wishes Bruce(From the Land Down Under – Australia)

    1. Author

      Thank you, Bruce. My picture taking is far from over. I did all this to ensure more of the life I want to be living and photographing, not less. Best wishes back to you from Vancouver Island!

  59. Hi David

    I think you are very brave to take the step you have (no pun intented unlike the title of your blog post!).

    I’ve always only dropped in and out of your shared content – as my life allowed, but have always been rewarded when I have done so – and as a result I was shocked by your news.

    You taught me (quite a while back) about being ‘intentional’ – that was a while ago. It’s really helped me with both my photography and my life choices in general. When behind the camera, I have often. but not always have, your words ringing in my ears. When they do, things go better!

    I wish you a speedy recovery and that you can achieve your goals in decding to take this path (again no pun).

    All the best


    1. Author

      Thank you, Tim. It encourages me to hear this. Being intentional not only in our art but our lives is one of the keys to living a more meaningful life, to not drifting but choosing our direction as best we can. I’m so grateful for the encouraging note. Thank you!

  60. I’m really sorry you had to go through that, but I’m glad you are on the other side of it. I am aways grateful to you for being so generous with your experience and wisdom. Just as you always say, I am finding out how important it is to print my work. I’ve unsubscribed from the photographer who said screen is good enough. NOT true. There is something about holding a print in my hand and noting my instant reaction to it. Usually good, but sometimes YUCK. I want to be the first to experience yuck, not my readers.

    Anyway, here’s hoping you get the wind back in your sales, if it isn’t t here already.

    Aloha nui,


    1. Author

      Thank you, Scott. The wind is in my sails and the sails are full! The boat is still tied to the dock, however. 😂 Won’t be long now, though. Thank you for the kind words.

  61. David, I admire you for many reasons, many of which I share with so many others. I love the positive outlook you have and truly believe that the outcome from this will be all for the good. There will be moments; maybe even days, where things are difficult, but your uplifting spirit will carry you through. Good luck and thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Lisa. I think you’re right about my own spirit carrying me through this. I like to think I’m pretty resilient. But much of the source of that strength comes from the people I am surrounded by. I’m amazed, humbled and grateful. Thank you for this kind note. 🙏

  62. “The presence of an absence “. Wow.
    Reminds me of a surgical correction to a severe cat bite wound where I wrote about my anesthetic experience while wondering, intermittently, what the hell I had in my hand…only to find my hand heavily bandaged from the very surgery I was writing about. Oh, those delicious anesthetics! I had the absence of presence. Ha.
    You’ve been in my mind for weeks now, since I first learned you were going to go through this.
    I’m so happy to read you’re doing well, even light-hearted enough to crack a few jokes.
    Losing a part of your body is a strange experience: doesn’t matter if it’s to ease excruciating pain or to save your life. Moving on becomes a dance in which you’re constantly evaluating your own steps. It’s tough, but it does get easier.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You’re so brave, and I’m so happy you have so much support. I am so glad that you have hope for a bright future!
    Much love and many hugs to you and Cynthia.

    1. Author

      Hi Jen! How great to see your name here. The absence of presence might just be even better than the presence of an absence. Though none of them as much fun as the present of absinthe. LOL. I hope you’re doing well. Miss you. Any chance you’re still crewing for Jenn and Chris or even Tom with Seaforth? Would love to see you again! Thank you for the beautiful note. I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such love.

  63. David,
    I fell in love with you a couple of years ago! Never having met me, that may surprise you! More accurately, I fell in love with your lovely voice, your ideas and your photography. I now refer to you as my boyfriend and all of my photo friends know who I mean. When a new photographer joins the group and hears me speak of “my boyfriend”, they look at me quizzically and say, I thought you were married? I am married. Happily married! I am a 72 year old camera clicking grandma and David duChemin is my boyfriend!
    Heal well, my friend!

    1. Author

      Candice, thank you! What a laugh you gave me. I checked with Cynthia and she’s unusually cool about this situation so you and I are in the clear. You can tell your friends this is now more mutual than it is the creepy stalker thing they’re all quietly nervous it might be. LOL. Seriously, thank you, both for the laugh and the support. I’m so grateful, and as always a little blown away that it’s even possible to have such impact. I am truly grateful and amazed.

  64. Quite the journey, David. I just had a total knee replacement (right), with the left knee getting the same treatment in a few months. Your story is, of course, much more harrowing, but I cancelled my first appointment for a variety of reasons, none of which were valid. When one weighs the outcome without the surgery, there really isn’t much of a choice. Befroe I decided to t o take the “plunge” I was lagging so far behind others on hikes, it was kind of embarassing. As such, I am healing very well and looking forward to the next visit to the surgeon.

    You are definitely one of my favorite writers and I wish you luck on your recovery.

    Tim Anderson
    Shadow & Light Magazine

    1. Author

      Thank you, Tim. These decisions are never easy. No matter how you cut it, they are a gamble. I felt my choice was a good gamble, and I got as much input from others as I could, often asking the question “am I crazy for thinking this is a good idea?” Enough people (all of them, in fact, which makes me suspect my sample group) said no. Nerve-wracking all the same. But this should get me not only walking again but doing hills and hiking and climbing and perhaps even trekking. Those are the rewards I’m hoping for. Extending that same hope to you. Thank you so much for the kind words. Best of luck on the next surgery! You’ve got this.

  65. We wish you nothing but good, David, what a story you have to tell, and I have always loved the way you write and seeing those amazing images. May there be many good times for you ahead so that life is once again a joy and you will bless others with your work.
    Both my husband and I had such a laugh over the time in that ward, not that it was funny for you, by any means! What a pity he has portrayed Christianity in that manner. I think we will get a giggle over it for some time.
    May your healing come quickly without too much discomfort, and in the end you will you will wonder why you left the decision that long!
    I am sorry I can’t give more, we are pensioners here in Australia

    1. Author

      Oh, it was very funny to me. It also made me want to not be there, but it was funny. More so now that I’m not there at all. Thank you for your kind wishes. I feel love and supported and I think you’re right, I will soon be wishing I had done all this much sooner. Best to you and your husband, with my thanks for your support and encouragement!

  66. It’s great to hear that you’re making daily healing progress post surgery. One line in particular struck a chord with me.
    “The presence of absence”. This is a powerful image that can be applied to other kinds of losses. (I used to be a grief counselor.) I pray you recover fully, expand your works of art as you continue to enjoy the journey of life.
    Best regards!
    Rachel Blevins

    1. Author

      Hi Rachel, thank you ever so much for this. I don’t know where I first heard the line “the presence of an absence” but it has echoed in my mind ever since and been a very important idea to me. I felt it especially strongly when I lost my father 5 years ago. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement. 🙏

  67. Hi David, I am amazed at the progress you have made thus far! That says a lot about your resolve and positivity which I have no doubt you will be up and at’m in no time! I have enjoyed your monographs…..especially the Kenya photos! This is a place I may not get to visit so I admire those photographers who do! I wonder if you are familiar with David Yarrow’s amazing huge book with his wildlife photography, including images of a few people! Your wide angle Rhino and other photos remind me of his work! I will keep you in my positive thoughts for continued healing, peace and acceptance as you move through this journey! All the best, Dori

    1. Author

      Hi Dori. Yes, very familiar with David Yarrow. He makes some wonderful photographs. Every time I see his work I want to get back to Kenya ASAP and experience it myself. Thank you for the kindness and support. I can’t express what it means to me.

  68. David. I read and reread your very personal account t of your and your family’s experience. I was unaware of your health issue. I watched, read and admired you for so long for not only the beauty of your work and the excellence of your teaching and communicating but for your gorgeous spirit which had seemed so present. So whole. Unaware of the background story. My admiration of you increases.
    Our frickin Canadian health care system eh! It obviously has its positives and it’s good but below it can be way too overloaded too! Good healing to health. David, continue what you do. You have touched so many lives by living the honest life that you share. Thank you. Ps phantom pain can sometimes be redirected by focusing on another body part .. or itching the palm of a hand. Also there is a very excellent t and doable therapy called mirror treatment. You tube it or ask your therapists. Your brain need some help rewriting all that hardware!! I know it’s odd to say to a near stranger but much love to you on this new journey.

    1. Author

      Thank you for that, Kim. The love and the wisdom is much appreciated. I’ve had some excellent thoughts on phantom pain in this thread and how to respond to it. So far I’ve been lucky with how little pain I’m experiencing, but that might change as I begin to take fewer and fewer meds. Thank you for being there for me. I’m humbled by the support.

  69. Dear David, I’ve already commented on your surgery but feel I have so much more to say. Last year, June, I also had major surgery for my back. Though I consider what I had to be nowhere as life altering as your surgery. Still, for me, it was huge. I was terrified and everything you mentioned in your post I experienced, including the crazy hospital situation. It’s hard to put into words the relief when it was over. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to walk again. It’s been a year now, and yes my life is different but not in a bad way. I’ve had to accept some limitations and still have some weaknesses and a limp in one leg, but i can walk. I once was a competitive runner, ranked all American; I can no longer run. I have a new normal but i also have an appreciation for all I can still do. Yes, I roll my eyes when I’m passed by people older and much slower than me, but then I just laugh. I want to offer comforting and inspiring words, but instead you give me words to describe everything I felt and went through. So again I say thank you. The road will be bumpy but the love and goodwill you spread will come back to you. Thinking of you and sending healing energy. Much love. Joanne

    1. Author

      Thank you for that, Joanne. I hope your back continues to heal and that you go from strength to strength. The road is always bumpy but it’s a hell of a view if you know where to look. 🙂 Thank you for the love and healing thoughts. I’ll take everything that’s thrown at me in hopes that some of it will stick. 😉

  70. That one foot in the grave comment begs the question: what did they do with your foot after they removed it? Just curious. Anyone else, I wouldn’t ask.

    I’m so happy to hear that your surgery went well and that you’re at home away from the nutcases. I’ve never found hospitals restful places to be, so I try to avoid them when possible and leave as quickly as I can. You’ve been in my thoughts for the past few days, and I wish you an easy transition to life with a prosthetic. Your attitude seems great, and I’m feeling a sense of relief in response to reading this post. You’ll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers (sharing Reiki actually, because I spent too many years in California).

    I love your posts and classes (I bought 3) and books (not sure how many I have, didn’t stop to count). If I had to pick one photographer to follow out of the too many I follow now, you’d be the one. I appreciate your thoughtful approach to photography. Your work encourages me to reflect on my process, and I’m grateful for that.

    Thank you for the work you do and for sharing your vision with us!

    1. Author

      Anne, you are one of a kind and I LOVE that you asked that. The answer is not very exciting. I’m pretty sure it went into a yellow bio-hazard bag, taken to the basement and incinerated. Ashes to ashes. In short, it got recycled and turned back into stardust. I am definitely not getting it back if I change my mind! LOL Thank you for your love and support. 😘

  71. I wanted to send my best wishes last week when I first received your news, but only words of gratitude to you for your uplifting messages that I received from your positivity came to mind. Somehow that didn’t seem appropriate to me at that time. Almost 5 years ago I got the most shattering news a parent can ever receive . . . the sudden death of a child. It shook me to my core and robbed me of all interest in my photography hobby of many years. It is very, very slowly returning, but it’s just not the same.

    Your sunny outlook in the face of such challenging times has is a bright spot for me.

    All I can say is a heartfelt “THANK YOU! You are an inspiration”.

    1. Author

      Oh, Jim, what a horrific loss. I am so, so, sorry. Even 5 year out that must still hurt so deeply. Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m not sure the loss of a limb can even compare to the loss of someone we love. There is no prosthesis in the world can replace what you lost. Still, grief is grief and pain is pain. Wishing you continued light and courage. We are very resilient. The words of Hemingway come to mind, ““The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” May you be stronger of heart for having had it so broken, Jim.

  72. Grateful for you sharing your most intimate situation and wishing you a speedy and full recovery. I will follow your progress as you will probably continue to share.

    1. Author

      Hi Julian. Thank you for this. You keep following and I’ll keep sharing. 🙂 Thank you for your support! 🙏

  73. David, it’s so good to hear everything went well with your surgery. You’re such an inspiration both as a photographer and as a truly authentic human. I regularly re-listen to “A Beautiful Anarchy”, mainly because there are so many gems and takeaways in there, and partly because I’m a slow learner recycling through the mire! If you don’t mind, I’m going to post this photo of you on my inspo board to remind me that struggle is part of the journey and I look forward to replacing it with one of you wearing your new prosthetic, ready to take on your next photo adventure pain free. Much Love, Sarah.

    1. Author

      I don’t mind at all, Sarah. I’m honoured. Thank you for your encouragement. It means the world to me that people find value in what I make. Thank you for your support! 🙏

  74. Hi David,
    Thank you for sharing your story so openly and hopefully. I too hope for you to have a good recovery, and that you can get back soon to the work you so obviously love so much. Over the years I’ve been so impressed with the humanness of your photography and the generosity of your teaching. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years, have been inspired by your ability to capture the heart and soul of a subject — and then being able to talk about it in a way that makes sense and makes me say “I can DO this!” You’re just fun to hang around with, even if it is virtual.

    All my wishes for a speedy return to your work. You teach us even when you aren’t using a camera, and I’m grateful for all you do. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Thank you for that, Joe. “Fun to hang around with” is high praise. I’m grateful you think so. Won’t be long and I’ll be back up and running. Thank you for the encouragement.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Eugene. It’s so good have something to smile about!

  75. David, I can’t tell you how thrilled Sandi and I were to get the current Contact Sheet. The picture of you radiates joy, as does your story. In this edition I could feel some of the crack-snap-and-pop of your humor and insight.
    Your description of your first night in recovery had me laughing out loud (and grateful to have a single room when I was in the hospital!)
    I very much appreciate your joy and optimistic outlook. It came at a time I really needed it. It’s been seven weeks since my fall/broken ankle, and am still pretty much confined to bed and wheelchair. The good news is that the healing is going well and I will be starting PT this week. I have to admit, I’m at that point of “Will it never end?”
    I have just purchased your recent monographs and desktop screensaver. I haven’t read the monographs, but I will be adding your desktop photos to my revolving selection of screensavers. (A collection of yours and my photos). What’s really neat is that I can’t tell the difference between yours and mine. (As this point I hope you can tell I’m pulling your leg- I’ll let you decide which one!)
    Hugs to Cynthia.

    1. Author

      Hi Jim. Thank you for this. Yes! It will end. It will feel eternal and then there will be glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel, and then you’ll be mostly emerged and suddenly you’ll be looking back and thinking, “Well that went relatively quickly.” You’ve got this, my friend! Thank you for your support and kindness.

  76. There you are!!! I was ready to send a note in the other thread to see if anyone had an update. Wow, you sure look good, David! So glad to see that smiling face. This is the start of new things and new adventures. You’ve got this. As someone who works in a health care facility where every room is private, I had to cringe more than once at that experience. SO glad you’re home; that’s where healing truly happens. I echo what everyone else has posted here. My photo mojo still is in low gear, but I’ve been reading and, as always, taking in so much from your posts.

    Please take your time and be a good patient. 🙂 We are all here and rooting for you.

    Thank you for the update – and all the best to you and Cynthia!

    1. PS – LOVED the monographs. Thank you doing that during such a complicated time. I love all of your monographs. I’ve only finished with Catchlight, because I’m trying to take more time when studying photos. And I really appreciate that you shared camera and exposure information. I know, I know, it’s NOT about the gear! I still like seeing it. All part of the learning process, no? 🙂

      Thank you again,

  77. I’m glad your anesthesia went so smoothly. I had a Herman cartoon I wanted to paste about that, but it doesn’t work. The recovery rooms can be a zoo, but I’m sure you appreciated being in there at the time.
    William Keiter

    1. Author

      Thank you, William. I appreciate it all. For all the ways the Canadian health system is failing right now, I was given excellent care and I am so grateful. Also grateful to have escaped that madhouse. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words.

  78. Hello David, Thanks for sharing your “funny later” hospital story. I imagine anyone who’s spent some time in one has a story or two,.. kind of like being over-titrated with morphine and planning an escape because one was not crazy and was going to get the “F” out of there… In the during phase of anything, the humor either is delayed or gets us through the episodes. Your gratitude will expand, and you’ll have so many new and different things to share that would not have come about without this experience.

    As you can see from all that people have already shared, you are not alone in this journey. We never are even if we feel that way. As someone else has mentioned, it’s okay to have bad days and down feelings. We all do. And when we don’t have the strength or perceived ability to get ourselves out of the funks, there are those who will either offer a hand or give us a kick in the pants to move us forward. Ask me or any of us how I know …

    Blessings in your journey.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jamie. If there’s one thing I do not feel at the moment it’s alone. I feel so surrounded by love and care, and the bizarre reality that people all over the world, people I have never met, are pulling for me, and cheering me on. It’s deeply humbling. Thank you for being part of that. 🙏

  79. David,
    Thank you so much for the update. Your blog post last week really had me thinking about you and lots of other things in life! I am thrilled that you are doing well – and I am sure that you will have challenges as time moves forward. Sorry to hear about the crazies in the room with you – but I am sure it could have been worse – at least Pink Floyd was there for you. I totally get that you will be pretty busy for a while as this path will take time to do all the things that you might not have imagined ….but also happy to hear that you are working on some more exciting things and that you will at some point be back out there doing what you love.

    Keep your wonderful sense of humor – and writing these thoughtful blog posts. We can all find inspiration from them.


    1. Author

      Thank you, Linda. I sometimes wonder who finds more inspiration in what I write, others or me. Without writing I think I’d go insane, so thank you for giving me a listening ear. And for your encouragement – thank you!

  80. So very happy to hear you’ve come through the tunnel to the other side. Yes, a long learning curve lays ahead, but you’ve got this! I can imagine the relief of the “fog” lifting, the insane second guessing of yourself is done (well at least in the department of should I or shouldn’t I goes). I pray all will move forward with less pain – including phantom, more strength – soul and body, and you’ve already kept your sense of humor, so that’s covered. As for your recovery ward companions… well, it reminds me of when my brother was in the hospital under end of life care. He was companion 1 and 2 rolled into a single crazed mad man! One minute he was praising the nurses, the next throwing things at them. My younger brother and I would hang our heads as we left his room, sorry for all the staff that had to deal with his tirades. He screamed at the top of his lungs about all the injustices he had to deal with, lack of ice chips not arriving soon enough, not being allowed to leave, of which his doctor said, “if you can get out of that bed, by all means – leave”. For being near death he was able to exude such vehement anger and yet turn around in the same breath and say thank you, or love you and even sorry. That was his personality, only magnified. And I am sure he was frightened. Thank God he didn’t have any roommates.
    So, here’s to if ever again necessary – nice quiet roommates, a miraculously quick recovery process and getting back on the trails with your camera in hand and the sci-fi horror behind you. I pray too for your family to have patience, strength and restfulness in the days and months to come and that you all find little blessings every day. Maybe you need to make a plaque with the words “Shut Up! Jesus is coming. Signed Pink Floyd” and hang it above your door just as you “walk” out of the house! ;-p

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, Pam. It was all so much one of those things where you can either laugh hard or cry hard. I chose the laughter, but I swear if they hadn’t sprung me and got me to another room there would have been a third option involving a clock tower and a highpowered rifle (a difficult choice, not only because I had no rifle, but also because climbing a clock tower is so hard with only one foot). 😂

  81. David… Been following you since at least 2017 when I got your Vision Collective series. 🙂 and been enjoying and learning from your various exploits since. 🙂 I love your “vision” and learning how you go about finding it. So glad to hear you are recovering well. What a story your first recovery night was… definitely not restive!
    As a past physio I do ‘feel’ for you with those phantom pains and itches (itches to me personally are worse than pain). Scratch the opposite foot in the same place you are itching or rub if it hurts, and in your mind picture doing it to your non-existent foot… sometimes that will help because of how our right and left brains work together.
    Celebrate the sensation that your foot is there and “apparently” working well as that is so important in your recovery and learning to walk with the new prosthesis. Your walk will likely be more fluid and smooth and even, because of it. One of the many reasons why we try and get people going with their new component as quickly as healing allows us. Your brain knows how to walk with 2 feet… if it thought only 1 foot was there, you would compensate with your whole body. Just hope you don’t jump out of bed at night quickly… many have face planted “forgetting”. 😉
    Best of luck in the healing process… I know you will do as well as you possibly can in all aspects, because you have the right attitude. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Author

      Hi Nancy! There’s some real wisdom in there, thank you! This seems like the kind of thing I might have been told by my PTs at the hospital. I’ll be coming back to this. Thank you!! 🙏

  82. David,

    I wanted and tried to respond to your original message to everyone, but I just couldn’t find the words that I felt were the right ones. I tried writing all the usual so sorries, prayers for healing and a safe and quick recovery and a smooth transition with your upcoming process and new prosthetic leg, but nothing seemed right and seemed shallow! So, I decided to not write you anything until the words seemed right and honest. now, I have the words that I feel have been escaping me…

    David, Patient One was somewhat correct, Jesus is indeed coming, but not right this second, Wait…nope not this second…wait, nope not this one either…wait. You get the drift, right? Hope this made you at least smile or gave you a chuckle and, hopefully, not flash-backs to the “Ward of the Crazies”. Oh, and praying for your speedy and easy total recovery and that you will never return to that ledge! And end this with Jeremiah 29:11! He does have a plan and even this, will not stop it!

    1. Author

      Hi Vikki. Thanks for finding the words – they’re full of kindness and grace. 🙏

  83. David, thank you for letting us know that you are ok, and that you are getting through this tough time with your sense of humor intact. Everyone’s journey is different, but as a cardiologist I have cared for many people with amputations. It’s never easy, but one of my favorite patients had a similar story to yours, and required a below-the-knee amputation after years of poor healing and pain from an injury. Ultimately he went on to compete in triathlons and teach aerobic classes! He even rode his bike across the US. He was incredibly inspiring, and certainly not the norm, but I hope this story will give you some comfort and promise of better days ahead.

    1. Author

      Hi Sarah! What a story! I’m a cyclist, too, and the thought of cycling across my small island hasn’t even crossed my mind, let alone a whole country. I’m constantly amazed what the human spirit can accomplished, legs or no legs. Also amazed at what we allow to become excuses. I’m fixing to be one of those people that is more the former than the latter. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. 🙏

  84. So glad you are back home. Glad to see your picture as you’re looking good, just a little shorter. I was thinking about your two roommates. Between them and your pain meds, it took your mind off any pain 🤪

    The monographs are like reading “The Heart of the Photograph” again. They cause me to think about each photo and how I can learn from them. It’s prepping me for Kenya. Really want some good photos of the rhinos although I probably won’t use the camera cage, but it gives me ideas how to do it

    I’m helping the Sequim high school photography course, and the monographs are giving me ideas on what to show them with local photos. Trying to get their attention

    Thanks for everything you do for us. It’s much appreciated. Can’t wait until you’re up and walking again, just no jumping off walls


    1. Author

      Thank you, Jim. We’ll drink tequila from my prosthesis when we’re in Kenya together! 😜 Love to you and Jo!

  85. David, your photography AND writings have inspired me for years. I especially loved the December “Life is like a camera”. The way you see the world is uplifting. So I’m not surprised at your outlook on your foot decision. Glad you are home and healing so well. Looking forward to your future. Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Author

      You’re welcome. It’s truly a joy. Thank you for such kind words.

  86. David,
    I can’t let another day pass without responding to your news which is , as always, filled with courage, reflection, and inspiration.
    I am also another voice in the chorus of how you and your visual storytelling , has given perspective and insight during some personally challenging times.
    Adult onset epilepsy left me grasping for a reset button . Discovering your books and your very authentic sharing was the calm reassurance I needed to know I could find my voice again.
    I send you my thanks and my sincere wishes for your recovery to be a new lens on the world that you can share with us.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Cheri. What an amazing thing that we can reach out to people and encourage them, me to you through my writing and you to me through words of your own. Thank you for that. I hope you’ve found a way to thrive since your diagnosis.

  87. So happy for you that the surgery went well and you are recuperating with your delightful sense of humor still in tact! Keeping you in loving light and healing as you continue on this journey and are back on your feet again! Take care and get well soon!

  88. Dear David

    Being the amazingly thoughtful person you are, you found a way to tell us all about your recent surgery . And you did it with your gentle grace and delightful humour.

    I have a few of your wonderful books and have bought them as gifts . I’m looking forward to seeing your Monographs.
    Take good care David. We are all right here, wishing you an excellent recovery and a return to your much loved photography..


    1. Author

      Sure, you’re very kind to say this. Thank you. I hope I can live up to the many kind words. With support like this I don’t see how I can’t bounce back quickly and better than ever. 🙏😘

  89. David, thanks so much for updating us. So very happy to hear that you are doing well, and not terribly surprised that you are feeling positive. I’ve followed your posts for a few years now, and done your Travelling Lens course (which I absolutely loved and will certainly watch again) so know that you see the world through a half full glass. Your vision for the future is an inspiration, and one that many of us benefit from!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Mary Ellen. You nailed it on the head. I am very much a glass half full kind of person. More like a, “hey, my glass is half full and I’m grateful but there’s room for more in there, so keep pouring!” kind of person. Thank you for the note. I feel very loved.

  90. Hi, David, Along with all the others, I’m wishing you the best recovery possible. I love your work and can only imagine how you must feel. I’m sure you and everyone else will think I’m crazy for suggesting this to such an accomplished photographer, but here goes. As long as you’re unable to be out and about capturing your usual beautiful scenes, how about a whole new way of looking at things, literally, and entertain yourself and us with tiny images, impressionist images and maybe B/W all taken from whatever viewpoint you have at your disposal while you’re incapacitated. Wishing you the best and hoping to see something from you.

    1. Author

      Thanks Sharon! It’s a good idea, but I’m not sure my camera is the right creative tool for now. Writing feels like a better place to express my thoughts and feelings. But the cameras will come out soon enough. I promise. 🙂 Thank you for your kindness.

  91. First, let me say how pleased I am to hear that your surgery went well and that your spirits are high.
    I have never met you or been able to attend one of your workshops, but I do own some of your books which I have enjoyed and found so very helpful in my photography pursuits. My favorite is “The Photographer’s Vision.”
    I hope the healing process is quick and you will soon be back out there taking photographs and sharing your knowledge with others.
    Best wishes.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much, David. For now my spirits are in no danger. I’m well cared for, my pain is minimal, and I’m recovering faster than anyone expected. My return to the world with the camera will happen in good time. Thank you!

  92. Hi David, I am so glad that your surgery went well and that you are home. There’s no place like home. I worked in the medical field for 40 years and have been a patient myself several times. I never understood people that say, “You should stay in the hospital and rest up before you go home”. They must never have been a patient in a hospital. Even in a private room the nurses must still take vitals which always wake you. You do still have a long road ahead and I wish you a speedy recovery and return to travel that you love so much. I have found your blogs and courses very helpful and inspirational and will continue to look forward to many more in the future. I hope you, in turn, will get the inspiration from your listeners that you need to get back on your foot as quickly as possible (I hope you appreciated the humor, if not please forgive me).

    Heal quickly and be well,

    1. Author

      Garry, Oh, I get and appreciate the humour! There will come a time when the pirate jokes wear thin, but for now I find the laughter very therapeutic. Thanks for saying hello. It’s much appreciated.

  93. Thank you for being such an incredible inspiration for strength and vision! Sending all the love and best wishes in the universe for a speedy return to roaming the world with your cameras and your fabulous eye!

  94. David,

    It is good to see your smile! Know that you have best wishes from Debbie and I as you continue down this lengthy journey.

    Dale & Debbie G

    1. Author

      Hi Dale! Thank you for this. Means the world to have the love of so many good people like you. Love to you both!

  95. Dear David,

    It is good to see you lighting up a room. For over a decade, it has been a pleasure to see your images, read your writing, and hear you in interviews. Thank you for what you bring to the photography community. You have played a valued role in my development as a photographer. Furthermore, thank you for the unique sense of warmth and humanity you choose to share. All the best in your future adventures.

    Warm regards,

    -Traven Benner

    1. Author

      Traven, thank you so much for that. It means the world to know I make a difference. Thanks for being part of this for over a decade. I’m humbled…

  96. Hi David – Oh wow, I had no clue! It has been a few years since we last spoke, so I was sorry to hear of the chronic pain you were going through but so happy that the surgery has gone well and that you are in a better place going forward. What a difficult and courageous decision to make, and from your follow-up blog post, one that has brought great relief and optimism! That is great news! I will be thinking of you and Cynthia and sending positive vibes! Take care.

    1. Author

      Hi Wade – it’s been ages. I sent you an email this morning, I hope you get it. We miss you.

  97. One step forward, can’t step back.

    One of my pet peeves is people who say to someone, “Please tell me what I can do for you.” It shifts the burden to the person who already has one to carry. Friends don’t ask. They just do. They cook, they clean, they shop, they share some wine. Sometimes they sit quietly or they tell stories. I’m not close enough to do any of those things, except the last part.

    During the pandemic when we were all stuck at home and unable to travel my wife turned 75. So I made up a hardcover book with a selection of pictures from our travels together. I talked about it with you while it was in progress and when I gave it to her she cried. I told you that and you said, “I know I’ve done well when Cynthia cries”.

    Here’s my prediction: sometime in the next few weeks you will walk across the room to her. When you get there, she will be crying.

    1. Author

      Steve, I hope you’re right, my friend. I give her plenty of reasons to cry, I assume you mean the good kind of tears. 😉

  98. I can absolutely hear the delighted bounce in your voice–I am so glad it went well, glad you no longer have to listen to patients One and Two (perhaps Number One might have a meeting with his favorite person sooner? and spare any future roommates the pleasure of his company. Or perhaps maybe he just needs to be rendered mute…..and unable to bang anything to get attention). Here’s to the new book, that the sense of elation lasts a bit longer then subsides into an abiding joy that will sustain you. It won’t be easy, there will be some steps backwards because there always are.

    But like someone else who just commented, I’ve never written to you before. I just wanted to because when my son was 13 he was riding his bike, lost control/brakes failed/skidded on gravel/all of the above, and spent THREE WEEKS in the hospital–all the bones in his left leg were broken. Six inches one way and the accident wouldn’t have happened. Six inches the other way and he’d have been killed. When we reached the accident site–a quarter mile from our house, when I shouted his name the crowd around him parted (he was in the middle of an intersection, all traffic stopped and there were THREE nurses in those cars who all ran to help him), he was sitting up and looked at me when I called his name. I knew then that anything else we could all cope with–he was alive and had a functioning brain. So here is to healing, to good meds, good doctors, and determination to LIVE…especially a joyful, loving, fulfilled life. Honestly, I think that accident kept him from doing far more dangerous things as a teen. (PS–he is now almost 30, married, and a funny, loving, compassionate wonderful human being!) SO, sending light and care and healing. Looking forward to hearing from you on your journey!

    1. duh…forgot to mention that when he lost control of the bike, he slammed into the front left quarter panel of a Jeep going 35 miles an hour! Poor driver to see his face through the windshield!

    2. Author

      Wow, Sarah Ann. I’m so glad your son is still around. My mother was here today for a quick visit and I think of all the stupid things I’ve done in this life, it’s amazing she hasn’t killed me herself. LOL. Thank you for coming out of hiding with this comment – it’s nice finally meet you!

  99. You’ve been an inspiration to so many for so long with your approach to thoughtful photography, and you continue to do this by talking openly about your current situation. I am so glad that I discovered you many years ago, and I look forward to what you accomplish in the future.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Tim. And for being around so long on this adventure we’re sharing. I’m so grateful.

  100. Hi David, Thanks for sharing your story. I can sympathize with you about the difficulties that you are facing (and dealing with) but from the perspective of a spouse who has seen a serious medical issue develop “out of the blue” for their loved one. How is your spouse doing?

    1. Author

      Thank you, Phil. Cynthia is handling this with grace and strength. She is a force of nature and I’d be lost without her.

  101. I never comment…until now. You have graced us with so much of yourself. It seems that many folks are responding in kind and I wish to also. You have a unique ability to think deeply, not just about photography and story telling, but about yourself, life, relationships. And even more unique is your ability to clearly articulate (some of) what you are thinking, ways to approach photography, and ways to do life. This depth is such a gift, and that you share it with all of us is extraordinary. Your bring all of this so much more to your “new ” situation. Wishing for you all the feels, supportive relationships and professionals, necessary down time as well as much strength and courage . With great respect, L

  102. David,

    I’ve had two knee replacements on the same leg, which now seems minor compared to your ordeal.

    After reading your books, I knew that you had a special ‘something’ that many of us don’t have. A spirit that helps you find adventure and beauty where most of just see, well, nothing.

    I was friends with a guy who tripped over his dog while walking downstairs. The surgeon fixed his broken ankle as well as they could. But he never walked the same. And eventually, he got gangrene which spread to his upper leg.

    They amputated his leg below the knee. It saved his life.

    Months later, after being fitted with a prosthetic leg and learning to function ‘normally’, we played golf together. It was one of his great loves to be on the golf course with his buddies.

    He played just as badly as he did before his surgery as did the rest of us. But we had a blast. Laughing and grumbling at our bad shots.

    I know you will, once again, enjoy your passion of photography. You didn’t loose your artistic eyes and inner feelings for nature. You lost your foot. And since when does a master photograph take pictures with his foot?

    1. Author

      Bill, thank you. You make some good observations, not the least of which was the idea that we do not take photographs with our feet. Too true. It’s devastating to know my golf game won’t improve (I don’t play golf). Thanks for laugh, Bill.

  103. David,
    New beginnings, a whole new chapter in your life. As a nurse I can sympathize with your post-op experience, I have walked where your nurse was walking. I was chuckling as I read about your experience, yes it can be the “Mad Hatter’s tea party”.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Douglas. My mother was a nurse so you sainted wonders occupy the top place in my theology – well above the angels. The odd Nurse Ratched aside, I am always in awe at the empathy, compassion, and patience for which nurses seem to have an infinite capacity. Thank you for all you do. Btw, “Madd Hatter’s tea party” is just about the perfect way to describe it…

  104. So glad your surgery went well and you are off to a good recovery!

  105. Hi David – I’m sorry that you had to go through the amputation but I’m happy that a) the surgery went well, b) you are in great spirits and haven’t lost the sense of humor that is soooo part of your persona, and that c) you have been so transparent with all of us who love you and your work. You continue to be such an inspiration in so many dimensions. Thank you for bringing such authenticity to all you do; I look forward to reading more of your journey and enjoying more of your photos. Sending you love and healing light. Best always, Chris

    1. Author

      Hi Chris. Thank you for this. No danger of me losing my sense of humour. I keep it safely in the left foot most of the time but I change locations routinely just in case. It’s my most valuable possession but the bank won’t let me keep it in the safe deposit box. Kidding aside, thank you. I’ll take the love and healing light with gratitude. 🙏

  106. Thank you David for allowing us to be with you. “We’re all missing something” is the most deeply empathetic sentiment I could imagine. Feeling very with-you in all this. So grateful for your teaching and mentoring. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hey Carter. Thank you for that. But allowing you to be with me? Are you kidding? What an honour and a privilege to share this. It’s me who should be thanking you for staying on the train so long. I often wonder what my audience thinks, like, “jeepers, I read the guy’s book and suddenly I’m part of some cult and all I wanted to do was make photographs. It’s like Hotel California around here!” LOL. Sorry about that. But thank you so much. And thank you for that reaction to “We’re all missing something,” I’m writing a piece about that very thing right now. It’s an important idea, I think.

  107. It’s great to read the update and find it seems you’re doing well. It’s tough to imagine feeling so much better after such a surgery. Then I have to remember you’ve been living with this sitatution and knowledge longer than any of us. I wish you a continued good and quick recovery.

    1. David, your words have always inspire me. And now going through surgery, they do a so again as I contemplate yet another knee replacement. Be well. Can’t wait to see the pictures of your new appendage in plac.e when you share the picture of it, as I have no doubt you will. Make sure the light is just right, maybe rim light it dramatically. 😁

      All the best, Jan Armor.

      1. Author

        Hi Jan! Thanks for this. You’re right, at some point I’ll be showing a little leg. 🙂 It’s bound to be sexier than what I’ve got going on now. LOL . The rim light is a good idea, but you know how much I like backlight so I think that was how it was always going to go! 🙂

  108. David, Perhaps the most important message here would be to say sorry for your accident and years of suffering. Quite possibly your decision for your amputation was ‘easy’ while still being difficult.

    Positive points here are:
    – You didn’t die in the first place.
    – Your literal years of suffering with your foot is over.
    – Not just you but your wife no longer has to worry over your declining foot, which affected your mobility, and it’s increasing pain.
    – Its important to have stories- you now have the story of your accident AND the post-op hospital stay story.
    – An old chair leg from a second hand store or the dump and an eye patch and you are set for Halloween.
    -You can continue sharing your photographic expertise unabated.

    Thank you for that expertise and I hope your leg heals soon.

    Best, Bob Bellinger

    1. Author

      Robert – You seem like a glass-half-full-so-please-fill-it-back-up kind of guy! Thanks for the humour, it’s always welcome. As for the pirate outfit, my only concern is how to find a parrot at short notice. 🙂

  109. Hi David,
    It sounds like things are progressing really well for you. Long may that continue. In my last comment I said I’d ask permission to share with you the Instagram feed of an amputee friend who is an amazing, humbling, unstoppable young woman. I hope you find her story reassuring and inspiring.
    Very kindest regards,

  110. So glad to read that your surgery was a success and that you are so positive, upbeat and accepting of your situation. Apologies for not responding to your original post however lack of internet while camping is not high on our priority list.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Susan. No apologies needed. Internet while camping only steals the calm. I’m glad you waited. I’m still here. 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful adventure.

  111. Dear C and D, so glad to read of your successful operation, and, more importantly, your amazing attitude and perspective on life. Over the years of your career as a photographer and teacher you have earned the love , respect and admiration of all of your friends, clients, fans, etc. I stand in awe. Keep on with your positive “can do” attitude because we all know you can and you will rehab 100%, become once again intrepid in your travels and enriching us with your teachings and your craft. Warmest wishes, Cecily

    1. Author


      Thank you. It’s hard not to notice that you’re always there in the comments. I’m so grateful for your presence and the cheerleading. This comment especially. Thank you. 🙏

  112. Hi David,

    So sorry for your loss, but happy to hear what you have gained from it. Your unique perspective on life and photography has inspired me to work towards my own goals, and I know your journey will continue to inspire me as you find new and interesting ways to explore the world.

    Something most of us discover at some point, is that life is not easy, but always worth the effort. A couple years I ago I lost my job and, inspired by your philosophies on creativity, I decided to become a full-time photographer. I had plans for great things in small timeframes, world travels, and books written…then my wife was diagnosed with cancer. She is 38.

    We are still careening down the current that is cancer treatment, and prognosis looks good, but the trajectory of my creative life has changed dramatically. The great things became small wins, the world travels became evening drives, and the books written became an unreliable blog. For all intents and purposes photography has taken a backseat to caring for myself and the love of my life.

    During this time of dramatic upheaval, however, I have grown as an artist, achieved the dream on a solo exhibition, connected to other creatives, and even had an image I captured featured on a beer can. To borrow from a film about the crumbling of best laid plans, life finds a way…and so does art – something you have reiterated time and again.

    I wish you all the best during your recovery, and I hope that you find yourself back to form quicker than expected. In the meantime, I hope that you uncover the small blossoms of creativity in your daily life and revel in their tenacity.

    Get well soon,


    1. Author

      Thank you so much, Dustin. What a journey you’ve been on. Nothing you would have ever chosen, but I’m guessing you’ve found light and beauty in the darkness. I hope your wife is doing well and going from strength to strength.

      I’ve never had a photograph on a beer can, so I admit to some envy. Keep at it Dustin. None of us “wins” this journey, but we can make it undeniably our own and find the joy in it.

      I’m pulling for your wife, my friend. Courage to you both.

  113. So happy you’re home and well on your way! We are here for you.

      1. Author

        Thanks for that, Avril. I’ll look her up! There are so many inspiring people out there facing similar challenges. It gives me so much hope and gives me the push I need right now. Thank you!

  114. Truly funny about the patients though not at the time I’m sure. If they are yelling, probably not even my hearing loss would completely compensate for that😂. Thanks for the update. Glad it went well with the surgery even as I’m sure there will be ups and downs with the journey to come. Will keep you and Cynthia in my thoughts.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Stephen. Much appreciated. Always nice to see your name in the comments. I appreciate your tenacity in sticking it out with me.

  115. Hi David

    Being in a room full of ‘crazies’ would also drive me nuts! I do like your black humour.

    Wishing you a good recovery.

    Kind regards

    1. David, so pleased that you are past the surgery and that it has been successfully done.
      Your details of the first ward are hilarious. Thankfully you haven’t lost your ability to laugh at the situation.
      Take your time to heal. Your followers will wait patiently until you are fully recovered and back on your ‘feet’ even though one of those feet will be a bit different.
      I do hope the transition and adjustment goes well for you. Lean on us for support. 😀👍🏽
      John Hewett Hallum, Victoria, BC

      1. Author

        John, when I lose my ability to laugh please take me out back and shoot me. 🙂 Thank you for your kind note. So far it’s all good and I need only time and love get me through the coming weeks and months. It’s a hell of an adventure, and it’s not easy, but it beats the alternative. 🙂

    2. Author

      Thank you, Martin. I was clinging to my own sanity by a thread for a while there!

  116. David: Somehow i missed the first posting in this series, and gasped when i read todays post, then backtracked to last week.

    You and I had just made friends (in this curiously intimate one way friendship) when you went to Italy and BOOM life changed forever in a nanosecond. As a new groupie, I was deeply connected to all the steps of of your return to home and to health and eventually to productive traveling, teaching again. I was and am in awe of your willingness to share so much of the experiences you have – not just your struggles with an image, but far more compelling, your struggles with your muses and your body and sometimes your sense of direction….. . In this curiously intimate friendship we have, I am tearing up as I read, I feel like i am sitting up late at night with an old friend, listening through as they share a struggle….

    You and I share a practice of gratitude laced with humor. I think it is why I love your writing EVEN MORE than your images — your gratitude, humor, humility and generosity shine through in so many ways . Those inner qualities, and the love of friends, will carry you through some really really tough patches.

    I have been reflecting, from my own aging adventurer’s body, (which is beginning to simply refuse to do things it used to do with ease), that i am in a period of profound renegotiation with my body. Our partnership has changed dramatically over time, and we are in a new period of rapid change….and my own grappling with “this is as good as it is going to be” has had me in tears and despair from time to time. Yet this old body has been my most constant companion, and I owe it continued trust, care, stewardship…..

    All of which led me to think about the Buddha and his focus on “old age, sickness and death” as the fundamental teaching points of our lives, which seemed so abstract when i was a youngster. Now days, it is so clear that wasn’t just poetic metaphor.

    Thank you once again for opening your life outside the frame to us out here. And power and strength and courage and patience and whatever else you need on your healing journey.


    1. Oh wow! I missed the first post, but I remember the incident in Italy. (Was it really 12 years ago?)

      I’m not quite sure of the correct sentiment in this situation.

      I’m sorry?


      I’ll opt for this: heal well and may you find joy in the journey ahead.

      1. Author

        That’s the perfect response, Stephanie. Thank you! You can’t go wrong defaulting to grace. 😉

    2. Author

      Adair – Thank you so much for this. My few words in reply can’t possibly do justice to your many kind words, but I hope you see in them my deep gratitude. I only want to contend with your idea that this is a “one way friendship.” In reading my writing you give me purpose and while I haven’t until now known your name you are important to me. I hope it’s mutual. Thank you! I’ll take all the courage, patience, and power that’s on offer. 🙂 Your friend, D.

  117. Hi David, I have been following your work for a long time (I found you through Matt Brandon’s work around 2008, I think.). I unfortunately don’t get to read your stuff as much as I’d like these days, but you truly inspired me from the beginning in my photographic journey. I wouldn’t be the creative I am today, without your influence. I’m incredibly grateful that you are alive and despite the things that led to this decision, that you’re still hopeful for the future. I think the things you create are going to have a different edge to them than you ever thought. So I look forward to seeing how you continue to grow in your own craft! Thanks for being vulnerable and for sharing such hard things. Not many are willing to do this and I think that’s why so many have commented and are supporting you. Blessings on you and I’m praying for you.

    1. Author

      Thank you Ashley. I hope you’re right about the edge. I can’t help but think events like this have a sharpening effect on us and what we make, if we let them. Your kind words, prayers and blessings are much appreciated. Thank you! 🙏

  118. Hello David,
    It is a relief to see you on your couch at home, visibly in good spirits. The soul of the photograph!
    All the best for the coming weeks and months from the folks at dpunkt, your German publisher in Heidelberg,
    Boris, Gerhard, and Rudi

    1. Author

      Danke euch allen! What an honour to be part of your family at dpunkt. Thank you so much for all you do for me and my German readers.

  119. David: You and your past courses, books and images have helped me develop my vision since before your initial accident in Italy. I am wishing you an uneventful recovery and transition to a prosthesis enabling you to continue your outstanding journey. Best wishes my virtual friend!


    1. Author

      Thank you, Mark. Much appreciated. Nothing virtual about friendship. 🙂

    1. Author

      Shauna! That’s the sweetest thing to say. Thank you for that. You do have the words – exactly the right ones. Thank you. 😘

  120. So many platitudes I could offer, and they are all relevant:

    What doesn’t kill us, makes us …
    Life has a way of …

    And then there are the Davidisms:
    Constraints actually broaden….
    Changing your perspective….

    But I’ll just say that your generosity never ceases to amaze me. Your gift for teaching and sharing insights has made me a better photographer. I have no doubt that sharing this journey with us will be inspiring in ways none of us can predict right now.

    Thank you!

    1. Author

      Marylynne – Davidisms? Is that a thing now? LOL. I love it. Thank you for that. I look forward to wherever this might take all of us. I have a feeling there are lessons in here about resilience, gratitude, and leaning into the gaps created by what we all feel is missing in our lives, rather than only mourning them. This is where art comes from – a response to the missing, a hunger for it and the courage to fill the gaps.

  121. Hey David, you don’t know me, and you are relatively new to me! I’m looking forward to going through vast amounts of your education and inspiration. I hope that you have a speedy recovery and are back out with a camera in your hand again soon, rocking your prosthetic. I have no doubt you will, your mindset will clearly get you where you need to be. Which is very inspiring, as I’m working on my own mindset! Thinking of you and wishing you all the best. Karen

    1. Author

      Hi Karen! Well, we know each other now. 🙂 Thank you for the introduction. I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for the very kind words.

  122. Hi David: I am so glad to hear about your recovery and that you are again able to be hopeful about the future. The journey will surely have its’ ups and downs but your spirit will survive and blossom. I wish you all the best as you continue on your journey to recovery. Best regards, CarolAnne

    1. I took one of your courses many years ago now, and you “taught me to see”. For that I have been grateful but never told you.
      I am glad to read your attitude to this challenging event is one of seeing and dealing with it. I wish you all the best.

    2. Author

      Hi CarolAnne. Thank you for this. Yes, ups and downs for sure. The ups are nice, but the downs have their advantages – it’s in the downs where our spirits not only survive (thank God they do) but also thrive. I’m so grateful for the encouragement – thank you.

  123. Hi David, I read your book « Within the frame » when I started my trip in street photography. I remember your accident in Italy and now it was a shok to me to read your foot has been amputated. But I see you’ve maintained the joy of life and it’s the more important thing I think. I hope you all the best for the rest.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jean-Jose. There is so much joy, and the thing about joy is it seems impervious to pain. 🙂

  124. Dear David, I‘ m glad to hear that you are on your way to recover. Get well soon and leave the dark nights behind you. With your positive attitude you‘ll manage it. All the best and kindest greetings from the Palatinate, Michael

    1. Author

      Hi Michael, as always, there you are with kind words from the Palatinate. Thank you! I hope this finds you and yours well. 🙏

  125. David, Your explanation of where you were nearly a week ago had me in tears immediately – of grief that you have put up with so much without making anything of it, at your bravery for choosing this path to deal with it, and your amazing positive words that many would struggle to find in what seems a horrific situation. It hit so hard that I couldn’t find the words even to try and offer you support right then. Now, the feelings are no less, but I can find some words. Your concentration on the positivity of surviving the initial accident, and the choice you have made and got into operation to get moving are amazing, fantastic and encouraging beyond that most could manage, and I take my hat off to you. I also believe you have made the right choices and will continue to inspire people for the future by giving perspective on life through your actions as well as your photographs. You are part of humanity that shows how amazing we can choose to be, and I hope more than ever we will meet sometime before we are both done with this planet. Thank you for sharing as you have, and keep on creating with undimmed vision. Somehow offering my very best wishes in your progress seems inadequate, but I do so offer. I look forward to seeing more of your story and images as this new chapter progresses! I can only say, with love, Rob

    1. Author

      Rob, thank you. Thank you for your kindness and concern and, yes, your tears. Your words of encouragement touch me deeply. I guess it would be easy to see all this as a loss, but I lost the foot years ago in terms of function and now the only loss, I think and hope, is the good kind: loss of pain, loss of limitation. Thank you for your love. It is both humbling and healing. 🥲

  126. An image that is worth more than a thousand words. Love to see you home and love to see you smile. What a story this has been and we all love that the story continues.

    1. Author

      Hey Stephen. So good to hear from you. It’s wonderful to be home. The story continues; I can’t wait to see where it leads…I hope you’re doing well. Off to either of the poles in the near future? Wrong time of year to go south, but anything happening up north?

      1. Yes. 6 voyages lined up for both north and south over the next 8 months. But I’ll be thinking about the Canadian bears that I passed on.

  127. Wow, you are certainly an inspiration to others, and I wish you all the best as you recover from what sounds like quite a trying surgery. My thoughts are with you, and I appreciate the light that you share with others, even under a stressful situation.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Andrew. There’s light aplenty, and in my experience the time to share it is in exactly these situations. Thank you for adding your light; it only makes things even brighter.

  128. Hi David, your first email last week came as a shock. I am so glad to hear that the surgery went well. I love that, as always, you are able to find humour in the situation. Laughter is truly the best medicine. Of course there will be challenges, tears and frustration, but your ability to also see the humorous moments (maybe even cause some!) will help you on your path to recovery. Wishing you all the best in your healing journey!

    1. Author

      Hi Geri. So nice to see your name here. Thank you so much for this. 🙏

  129. David, first and foremost we—my husband Mark and I—are sending our very best wishes for healing rapidly and well. Also we thank you for your incredible influence on our ideas about creativity and how we see the world. Thank you for taking us along on your journeys, even though you’ve been in pain. Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge. We care about you and we feel that you genuinely care about us, your fans. Good luck with the rest of your medical treatment. Oh—yes we bought the monographs and I immediately changed my wallpaper to cranes flying over the sands. So beautiful.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much Stephanie and Mark! This means so much to me. And today you and I are looking at the same wallpaper. Thanks for being on this journey with me. Means more than I can say…

    1. Author

      Thanks, Steve. It’s a relief to not be looking at my old broken foot instead of my good one, and thinking, “Man, that went horribly wrong!” My life motto seems to be “Well that didn’t go as f*cking planned!” – I’m glad to have taken a break from it for once. LOL.

  130. So thankful and happy that you’re on the mend physically and mentally. Looking forward to your recovery and future creative projects.



  131. Thanks for being an inspiration as a photographer, as a writer, and as a person. I wish you all the best as you recover and navigate the world in a new way. Your story of the madness of the recovery room is difficult to read. Must have been crazy to live through. After my first major back surgery my “roommate” threatened to kill me and the hospital staff. He was in for bed rest and was capable of getting up. In the fog of sleep, drugs, and extreme pain I tried to deal with him as well. Luckily the nurses moved me to a private room. Like yours, mine is a somewhat funny anecdote now but still brings up feelings of vulnerability. Your online courses have changed my photography. Many thanks. Keep healing, growing, and being an inspiration.

    1. Author

      Hi Doug! My experience was truly amusing. Yours sounds terrifying. There’s nothing funny at all about being so vulnerable and in genuine fear for your life. But I do envy you the private room! 🙂 Thank you for the note and the encouragement. It’s so appreciated. 🙏

  132. Your positivity will get you through the issues that are bound to come up.

    Just one thing today, short story, but after a bad knee replacement I got crps and could not walk for a long time. I considered amputation then and discovered a young woman on youtube that lost her foot due to a terrible horseback riding injury many years ago. I watched many of her videos and found them both informative and uplifting, if that is possible with such an issue.

    Footless Jo.

    She is a sweetheart giving incredible information about what it is like, what to expect, etc.

    1. Author

      Hi Wanda! Thank you for this. Funny you mention Footless Jo. She was one of the people I followed a little before the surgery just to wrap my head around it all. She’s got a nice approach to things. And yes, it’s possible to approach amputation in an uplifting way. For me this is a gamble for more of what life offers, not less. Right now I’m sitting on my back porch, it’s a gorgeous day, my feet are up, so to speak and I’m so full of gratitude that the surgery has happened. Lots of struggle leading up to it, but my experience post-surgery has been so positive, so full of hope.

  133. Dear David, I’m glad your surgery went well and you are back home, for sure a better place then a multiple beds room in hospital.

    I feel sorry and ashamed I did not comment on y our previous post, but I was not able to find the correct words. By the way english is not my mother language and it makes even more difficult to make an appropriate comment in a foreign language in such delicate circumastances.

    I think I cannot even imagine how difficult your decision must have been, how many thoughts went throu your brain.

    But I would like to try to encourage you letting know about Matteo Di Giovanni, a succesfull italian photographer I met in Milan and who was amputated of his left leg around 10 years ago because of a car accident when working in the Balkans.

    If you are interested here is his website :

    and here is an interesting conversation he had with Robert Morat in which you can read not only about his photographic view but also about his accident, the conequences and the way he went throu it :

    It will be not simple for you, but knowing from your blog and mail how you face life I’m sure you will be able to go through and overcome these difficult times. In Italy we say “in bocca al lupo”

    Be strong my friend,

    robert k. rehmann, Italy

    1. Author

      Thank you for this, Robert. Please don’t feel the need for either the apology or the shame. These are not easy things to find words for, much less to do so when English is not your mother-tongue. Thank you so much for your kind words and for the links to Matteo Di Giovani. I’ll look at them now but wanted first to reply to you, especially since this somehow got stuck in the spam filter of this blog. Thank you so much for the note. One of the first things I do when I am back to my new better-than-normal is return to Italy. I miss it so much. Best to you, with my deep gratitude, from Vancouver Island.

  134. David! I’m so glad the surgery went well and you are home on the mend. Although I would guess that you already mentally have “one foot out the door” on your next trip, please be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal.

    Your monographs are beautiful, as always. One thing I learned from “The Wild and the Wonder” is to insist on game drives at dawn or dusk rather than during the day; the morning/evening light really makes many of your photos. If/when we return to Africa, I must do the same.

    A more general question ~ do you copyright your photos, specifically the more recent ones?


    1. Author

      Hey Scott! Nice to hear from you. Yes, one foot out the door is right (cause I only have one foot! Ha! I see what you did there!). And yes, dawn or dusk. Always. Not only is the light more interesting, almost nothing happens in the middle of the day. Everything is seeking shade. Go earlier, stay later. That’s my approach. As for copyright, no. Copyright is legally mine simply by making the images, but I do nothing further to register that copyright. Life is too short and copyright is only as good as the lawyer I pay to defend it, and the emotional cost seems just too high to defend against violation. Unless you’re a corporation with deep pockets and then I’m making a full time job of it, making my millions, and retiring to the Mara. 🙂 I hope you’re well. Would love to travel again with you (rather than see you in another vehicle as you pass me by…) 🙂

  135. David, I’m reiki healer, i offer remote healing sessions for your recovery.
    Would you like to accept this gift from me ?
    P.S. I can’t do healing without your permission .

    Cordially, Danai Nama

    1. Author

      Hello Danai! Who could say no to this? Thank you very much. As long as this requires nothing from me (I’m so pushed for time right now) I would be very happy to receive your gift. I’m deeply touched by your offer.

  136. Dear David,

    Thank you for your generosity, your generous spirit which refuses to bow to bitterness and despair. Thank you for the constant reminder that the images we make are not a substitute for sharing more of who we are. Sending you all the best in this time of recovery, with gratitude, Jeanne Wells

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jeanne. ” the images we make are not a substitute for sharing more of who we are” – indeed. Exposing your sensor is not the same as exposing your soul.

  137. Hi David,
    I have been blessed by your words on finding the “why” over the years. I first encountered your blog as part of the 5 day deal which purported to be full of value to photographers, but, as Linux user, not for me. But there were 2 products in the bundle which had enduring value, your “Craft and Vision” and Lindsay Adler’s “Posing Pitfalls: 5 things which ruin poses and how to fix them,”
    So she sorted the “How” and you definitely sorted the “Why”. I make pictures of people, and it is fulfilling, thank you very much.
    My grandfather in his 80s had adult onset diabetes which led to the amputation of a foot, the operation was unsuccessful so they amputated a bit below his knee. He wanted a prosthesis instead of a wheelchair or crutches, and was told “no”. Well, he raised hell over that (long story short) and obtained his prosthetic leg. He worked with a stick until one day he entered his beloved Lawn Bowls Club, parked his stick in the corner and walked unaided, with a standing ovation, to the bar.

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, Andrew. Your grandfather sounds like a real character. I hope I’m cut from the same cloth. “Parked his stick in the corner and walked unaided, with a standing ovation, to the bar.” What a picture. I’d stand up right now and join the ovation myself! 👏🥃

  138. Thanks for the update.
    ,delight to learn (have confirmed ) that your sense of humor wasn’t amputated along with the (correct) foot. Best wishes for rapid healing and continued learning in this new chapter.

    1. Hello Akeno – I’ve been thinking of you lately, thinking I should reach out and touch base to see how you are. And then I saw your news. POLE, BWANA! But sounds like this is the right step in the right direction…ha.

      Love to have a proper catch up when you have time. I am well, healthy with just a few residual tropical “friends”. After all that exposure, my doctor surmises that it’s a reason I have been able to resist covid. Still fighting the poverty fight, but now on this continent.

      Passing on many blessings to you and continued good healing.

      Mama Rungu

      1. Author

        Asante sana, Mama Rungu. I sent you an email earlier. Let’s connect! Tuta onana. xoxo

    2. Author

      The day my sense of humour is amputated is the day I just call it a life, Bob. 🙂 Thanks for the wishes. I’ll take them! 🙂

  139. Wow! What a read. The other patients I would have cranked up my MP3 player just to drown them out as well. As for the nurse tapping out if I was in her shoes I probably would have as well. I would have been begging for a new room right then and there along with pain meds. Regardless heal fast, stay strong and optomistic as well as keep your sense of humor and most of all your sanity in this insane thing we call life.

  140. Wow! What a read. The other patients I would have cranked up my MP3 player just to drown them out as well. As for the nurse tapping out if I was in her shoes I probably would have as well. I would have been begging for a new room right then and there along with pain meds. Regardless heal fast, stay strong and optomistic as well as keep your sense of humor and most of all your sanity in this insa
    ne world

    1. Author

      Thanks Stephanie. Right on all counts. The volume on my iphone goes plenty high and I was transferred the next morning. New roommates were no better, just differently traumatic for me. LOL. I was only there 4 days I can put up with almost anything for 4 days when I’m on good pain meds and can nap anytime I want. 🙂

  141. You have a camera.
    Remove the lens.
    Stick on an m42 adapter.
    Beg, borrow or perhaps not steal, an m42 thread lens.
    Screw on that lens.
    Take pictures from where you are sitting, or able to move in your room.
    Now persuade somebody you need an extension tube!
    Attach same.
    Now take more photographs and enter another very different world.
    No need to travel to foreign places when new worlds are there waiting to be explored while sitting in your chair.

    A lot of us can’t go too far from home and where we spend our days – join us!
    Now I am looking forward to a new monograph of these new experiences!
    It’s a good day – we are both alive to realise just that!

    1. Author

      Thanks, J. Good idea! I have plenty of m42 mount lenses kicking around. Might even have my old bellows. Not sure I’m up to crawling around making photographs but you never know. Creative work comes in all forms, right now it’ll probably be bigger picture stuff.

  142. What an absolute day brightener to hear that everything went well and you yourself are in such remarkable spirits. Continued prayers for your healing! Looking forward to seeing what is next from you:)


    1. Author

      Thank you Ann! If all goes well I’ll be back with my bears in September, and in Kenya in January / February. In the mean time there is much to do and write and it won’t be all about my leg, I promise! 🙂

  143. Hi David,
    I haven’t sent this sooner because I haven’t known what to say. But now I think I do. My uncle was a tank sergeant with Patton in Europe during WW2. Long story short, he lost both legs and the index finger on his right hand. He had knees, but not much more. He lived a long and full life. I know you will too.
    Hope this helps,

    1. Author

      Thank you for that, Tom. What a story. I think it’s probably a good reminder that we are not what we do not have. BTW, my father was a tank commander, too, though not in WW2 and he died with all his limbs. Thanks so much for the comment. Much appreciated.

  144. Hi David-
    I received your message last week but found myself unable to respond immediately. This post was much easier to digest because I had time to process what you wrote. I know your feet have been a problem since your accident in Italy, but I had no idea how crippling (physically and psychologically) it has been for you all this time. In the time I have known you and traveled with you, you never let your discomfort come between you and your photographing friends. You have been so brave and so generous in sharing such personal information. You make us all feel like part of your family. And I’m especially thankful that you have the constant love and support of Cynthia, a truly gifted artist and one of the loveliest people I know. I wish you well in your recovery. I am sending much love to you both.

    1. Author

      Ellen, you ARE part of my family. Our family. Next time we wander through Venice together there will be less of the limping and more of the “hurry the f*ck up, I want an Aperal Spritz!” 🙂 Miss you. I hope you’re doing well.

  145. David, thank you for sharing this journey with us. To be sure, it’s a different genre of travelogue than that to which you (and we, your readers) are accustomed. I have long admired your images and your inspiring writings and, now, thank you for your messages of optimism and hope in the midst of such a difficult time. I wish you godspeed on this and all your future journeys. Be well, Lou.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Louis. Thanks for being part of the journey. It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong, right? The good parts are in the detours, not the easy stretches. 🙂

  146. Wanted to wish you a fast recovery, and it sounds as if you are positive and hopeful, so that’s good. Keep the work going, and keep blogging and sending out info on photography. Quite a long time ago, I enrolled in one of your courses, and it was so helpful, and down-to-earth and accessible.

  147. Your lack of bitterness and your constant positive outlook in the darkest of times are truly inspiring. Your recount of the crazies in the ward made me laugh even though your situation is unthinkably depressing. I sincerely wish you speedy and event free healing and rapid adaptation to your new body shape. Best wishes from Cape Town, and keep your wonderful sense of humour intact!

    1. Author

      Hi Irene, thank you for this. Much appreciated. Nothing to be bitter about here. I’m a lucky man to have what I do and as Nietzsche once said: “What doesn’t kill you only gives you something to blog about.” I think that’s what he said….😂

  148. Hello David, I’m not really sure how to address this, but to say that for me, and I suspect many, you represent much, much more than a photography teacher.
    I am grateful for the way in which you share your vulnerability, humanity, and range of emotions. It seems that there is not enough of that in this day and age, and yours is most appreciated. I’m sure that is why so many people feel a deep connection with you without ever having met you.
    I want to thank you for all of the grace you display in all of your communications with us, and I wish you nothing but the best in your recovery. Warm regards to you and Cynthis, Rick

    1. Author

      Thank you, Rick. Your words mean more to me than I can say. 🙏

  149. Wow, David. I missed the earlier piece. Your photographs and writings on photography have inspired me and the friends I’ve shared them with. Now your courage and honesty in telling your amputation story do the same in a different way. We may photograph animals in the wilds of Africa and Asia, but we humans are amazing, resilient animals ourselves. Thanks for once again bringing that realization home.


  150. Nice to hear you are recovering well, meds are a wonderful thing. Your “One flew over the cuckoo nest” hospital Ward is funny from this end but maybe not your end. Your writing turns a negative into a positive and I wish you well for the next phase , I look forward to your next post. Ordering up your monographs now.

    1. Author

      No, Gerry, it was pretty funny on my end too! 😂 If you can’t laugh about these things you probably cry and most of the time I choose laughter (at least until the lights are out when I can cry myself to sleep). LOL. Thanks so much for the note. I’m in great spirits. Just waiting on time now to carry me through the next couple weeks as things heal and I get closer to a new leg.

  151. So very glad to hear that you are home with sense of humor intact. If you were sad, I’d have to say you were defeeted and maybe it’s too soon for that….

    I’m sure Cynthia is taking very good care of you but remember to practice self-care as well. Feel all the feels, scream all the screams and of course, laugh all the laughs.

    I truly believe that having one less foot will have absolutely ZERO effect on your creativity and your passion for life, photography and teaching.

    Be well. Heal soon.

    1. Author

      Hi Celeste! Nice to see you here. Thank you so much for this. I do think that going through this will have a strong effect on my creativity. But it’ll be a positive one. This will change me and as it does my creativity will change and I’m excited for the journey! I’m in good hands and so grateful for the support of people like you. Thank you.

  152. Hi David, as well as an inspiration, you are such a brave man. I truly wish you a speedy recovery, the best prosthetic in the world and the long continuation of your photographic genius.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Bryan. A really good prosthesis will be much easier to come by than photographic genius, but I’ll see what I can do! 🙂

  153. I wish you a lot of health and I know that everything will be fine, because karma always comes back 🙂 I will be very happy to read your monographs, especially since the philosophy of your photography is very close to my sensitivity and my heart.
    I am most happy with the mogorafia “India”.. it is the country where I do my project and it is my second and maybe even the first home for me
    All the best for you

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for that, Malgozata. I hope to be back to India in no time, it has been too long.

  154. “The presence of an absence” is a marvelous title for something … a book, an evocative photograph? Isn’t that what an evocative photograph really does
    – convey the presence of an emotion that can’t be seen but is truly experienced? Anyway, that phrase is captivating!
    Prayers and best wishes for your continued recovery. Your sense of humor is clearly intact and doing well!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jenny. I’m as taken by that phrase as you are. I don’t recall where i first heard it but it’s been rattling around in my brain for years. I describes so many things so well. I thought of it often when my father died 4 years ago, but with the loss of this foot it seems even more appropriate. Thank you for the note!

  155. Hi David, thank you for this positive and upbeat message of well-being and hope for the future, notwithstanding the very difficult time you have been through. I’m so pleased to hear that the essentials were successful and you are feeling well enough to communicate with us. All the best going forward. I have bought your monographs but I have not yet made time to give them the attention they deserve. They are sitting on my “desktop” and I shall study them this coming week. I have total confidence before seeing anything that they are excellent. Best regards, Mark

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