Liam is a singer.
Once every year or two, I have access to him as a subject for several days at a time, in varied settings, while he shoots a music video. Any photographer will tell you what a joy this is – a subject captive for three days while engaged in a number of activities and moods, rarely conscious of the camera.
To see Liam in the photos below, in life, or even on paper (he’s a graduate student of Physics at the top university in our country), you might think he had been born fully formed from the collective consciousness of Adonis and Athena.
But, no – he was born to me and his dad, and what is best about him is quite other than all that sheen.
“Lambie” – a nickname befitting the youngest but bestowed by his slightly older brother’s inability to pronounce “Liam” in the early months – was the embodiment of rough and tumble spunk, as a tot. He perpetually topped his head with peculiar lids and spouted witty insights from his wee pie-hole. And then there were the odder reflections: wondering one Christmas morning whether Santa might have brought him perhaps a bear – or a door. In everything – physical gags or wry observations – a ceaseless cascade of wit.
But his imperfections are many. Toddler Liam could not abide being sticky. Sticky fingers wrought wails of discomfort and frustration from his considerable lungs. Employing utensils with tiny hands entailed accidental food touching, so I often left pre-cut snacks on the footrest of Liam’s high chair for him to stop and pick up with just his mouth as he scooted through his days of fun. And his flawed nature has continued into adulthood; beneath all that awesome is a man who, if he thinks you’re intelligent, will not lie to you to spare your feelings (it would be beneath you), or who celebrates an old friend moving into town by texting them twice as often as he had before. This is a man who might well have to be tickled to smile for his own wedding photos.
Liam was our “little black box,” his inner perceptions an elusive enigma that his wit, humour, and music would not give up. And there is still so much he keeps close to his chest. But to be loved by him is eventually to know him and to know that to guard those secrets is to love him best.
I offer up no clarity, then, no endearing vulnerabilities or specifics but for this:
There are good men who casually put others at ease with a smile, or who make their best girl feel like a million bucks on the dance floor. These are not the kind of good man that Liam is.
My youngest son is the salt of the earth.
There are some men as good as he, but there are no men better.
This is album art I created for his last iTunes release.
In the dunes between takes.
My boy chillin’.
The early version:
In winter, with Sandor.
All recent photos taken with a Nikon D810. All rights reserved.
Gossamer Universe 2017.