Each year we've traditionally sent out a Holiday message to our E-Photo Newsletter readers. This year I am particularly thankful for having my daughter with me to celebrate Christmas.
Despite being in Paris at the time, we're also both thankful that we and our friends were not directly involved in the Paris tragedy. My daughter and her friends often went to those venues. But we are, of course, sad that so many young, innocents were wounded or lost their lives there in that senseless violence.
The holiday season can be wonderful and/or stressful. My good friends Burt and Missy Finger are spending it having to move their gallery Photographs Do Not Bend, otherwise known as PDNB Gallery, over Christmas and New Year's after their rent got a big hike (something that happens regularly to galleries unfortunately). They are moving from the Dallas Design District to a new, expanded gallery at 154 Glass Street, near Riverfront, which seems to be the new hot gallery location. My best wishes to them both. The photo business is a lot of tough work, which some on the outside do not always understand.
Another Texas photography dealer friend, Catherine Couturier, had her house and gallery flooded out in the Houston floods earlier this year. She just got to move back into her newly rebuilt home with her family a few days ago. The week before she moved in, she posted up "Five hours of Darth Vader's burning corpse will replace your Yule Log" with a note saying, "This seems extremely apropos for this holiday season." Cat has a great sense of humor—albeit black comedy sometimes—but I'm sure the lack of a permanent home during the holidays was starting to get to her. But I know she is finally enjoying the holidays in her new home.
Others outside the photo community are clearly not having quite so much luck, as war-torn areas in the Middle East and parts of Africa are sending millions of refugees flooding over borders every where. Remember them in this season of gratitude, gifting and love. There are many charitable organizations helping out our needy brothers and sisters who need your contributions to do so. They need your gifts at any point in the year too. Not just at year's end.
Unfortunately there are too many politicians in the U.S. and Europe who like to scare people with their senseless rhetoric to try to make political points, instead of providing true leadership and expressing our countries' history of accepting immigrants, who've made an incredible contribution. After all, the only native Americans are Native Americans. The rest of us all come from immigration to this country at one point or another, and we should be sensitive to the plight of others that are facing some of the same bigotry and prejudice that our own forefathers (and mothers) did. My Polish grandparents came here just before WWI, and I'm glad they were allowed to enter. Yes, there are issues, but sane, balanced discussion needs to replace the shrill and often disturbing calls from some political factions here in the U.S. and Europe.
I wish to help build a world with a sense of compassion for the helpless, rather than contribute to a world of senselessness, fear and bias. With evil people in the world, the fact is that we can never be completely safe, but the risk of such violence to ourselves is so infinitesimally small as to be virtually non-existent. If you really want to do something to make yourself safer, then stop smoking, get more exercise and eat properly, or work to get reasonable gun control. Those are defined risk factors that will extend your life (and others with the latter) with certainty. Being afraid of a terrorist attack that has a lower statistical odds of affecting you as being struck by lightening three years in a row makes little to no sense in a real world. Letting that fear dictate policies that disgrace our country and actually encourage recruiting for terrorist causes is even worse. Beware of politician-hucksters claiming to be able to keep us all safe from any further attacks. Remember that these are the same politicians who don't even want to ban people on our terrorist watch list from getting a gun.
This year, I admit, I'm a little less hopeful than in past years. I am more concerned for our world, facing global warming (over Christmas, it set a record for a high temperature for that day here), continued violence in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere, as well as feckless political hacks promoting their explosive mix of fear and fakery to an ever more frightened and unsure public. I hope that by standing up, each and every one of us, we can still make a change for the better. Let me know what you think.
I do wish all of our readers and clients a happy, safe and warm holidays, and a better New Year!
In case you find yourself in the spirit of the holidays and would like to read a selection of some of our past holiday messages:
In Praise of Friends and Family, Issue #186
A Lesson For The Holidays, and The Rest of The Year: The Gift of Balancing The Scale, Issue #167
Holiday Greetings to All Our Clients and Newsletter Readers, Issue #138
A Holiday Message, Issue #99