Great Way To Start Off The Year

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish you all the best in 2013, especially I hope you'll have many fantastic surprises.

Mine started this way actually. A few days after Jan. 1st I received an email regarding a picture I had posted over 3 years ago on the BBC. A man was inquiring if I had posted a picture back in 2009, and since he gave no other information about the pic, I was little suspicious he might be a phisher or something (having had several pics posted there, his question was a little vague). After exchanging a few emails, I realized it wasn't the case, and he told me that my picture had a big impact on his life. With his permission, here is his story:

Dear Jean-Yves,  
First and foremost, I want to thank you for that photo. To say it has had a profound effect on my life is not an exaggeration.
Back in 2009, when I first saw the photo, my life was not going well. Despite years of working in the arts ( I studied acting in New York City) I had come to an impasse and lost all direction. Physically and psychologically I was feeling in pretty bad shape.  
The perfect beauty of your image struck me, and I saved it as wall paper on my computer for months. I have to admit, it gave me great peace.
Before studying acting, I had briefly studied Fine Art History and did one studio course, but had pretty much let that part of me go. It occurred to me that if I were to commit myself to painting a canvas again ( it had been at least 16 years since I had picked up a paint brush to work on a canvas) then at least I could feel "some" sense of control over my creativity and art. The image you captured inspired me to start again.
I purchased a canvas with the intention of reproducing the image and have to admit that even that hung on my wall, blank, for a long time. Then one day, I began to paint. 
I figured if I could just do one a leaf a day I might stay on course in my life. It didn't work out that way. Sometimes I would paint a leaf and then let it sit for days, other times I would work for days at a time and complete large sections. 
Finally, something happened that I did not expect. The painting flowed and I fell right into a passion that I had completely forgotten about and, in fact, did not know I had.
All this to say Jean-Yves, that because of your eye and standing on your tip toes to catch that plant, at that moment, you have indirectly brought to life a dormant talent in another person that otherwise probably would not have been expressed.
I completed the painting last week. It took over a year to do. It is a fairly large painting (6 ft x 4 ft) and was done in oil.
I am not sure what is next for it. I have never sold a painting in my life. I've never ever attempted to, but what matters is that I plan on continuing my passion for painting canvases. 
I wanted to track you down, as I said, to thank you, and let you know.
As well, I want you to know that I fully intend to give you credit for the original image should it come up, and would like your permission to do so.
As I said, I've never had a show, or sold a painting in my life. As it is now, I mostly scratch out an income painting houses here in Xyz Canada but now, at least, the wheels have begun to turn for me in a new direction.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope you like it.

The funny thing is, as a photographer, I hope to inspire people and sometimes reveal things about myself. Posting pictures on the BBC, I wished to gain some recognition, it was a purely selfish act. Yet, it ended up really helping someone else, in a totally unexpected way. I have my Black Swan series on unexpected occurrences, I don't know if this qualifies as a grey or black one, but it is definitely a no-white swan. If I go to Xyz in the future, I will certainly ask him to model for me.

Well, here is the man and his painting. I hope it inspires you to create/explore/play in a way you have either forgotten or only dreamed about before.


  1. God, what a story. I actually had tears welling up. I vaguely remember your photo. Kudos to the artist for selecting a rather large canvas to interpret the photo first because it made his endeavor more difficult and second because its size envelopes the viewer rather than the viewer engulfing the painting. He did a great job.


  2. Impressionnant! S'il décide vouloir vendre sa peinture, je serais interessé, ca bouclerait la boucle comme on dit! Il n'y a pas de ZYZ au Canada, mais je suis sur que Purolator se rend!