Having lost my dad too soon in 2008, the concept of death seems never to be too far from my mind. I wonder what would happened to my family if something were to happen to me. Or what we would do if one of my family members dies. I never used to think like this. Life is really so short and precious. It is why I cherish now every day with my family. Why I hope to bestow my appreciation and love on those in my life. Why when someone does leave us too soon, it keeps bringing that focus back to what is really important in life. Still when someone else I knew died unexpectedly I still felt like I didn’t know how to process it. Why do good, caring, and amazing people have to leave us so soon? I do not know if that question will ever be answered for me.
My husband and I were saddened by the news this weekend that a friend of ours from our time in Hawaii had passed away. Michael Bonner was a gem in this life, one of those people whom you instantly liked and who seemed to make life better because he was in it. I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with him on several occasions in the photography circle on Oahu. I remember hearing of him before we ever met. I had seen his photography work on the networking site, Model Mayhem, and both loved and appreciated his beauty photography. He had an amazing eye for the technical and the creative side to photography and his work with lighting was breathtaking. As a hairstylist I really wanted to work with him and he was so nice to make that opportunity happen. I remember being in awe of his apartment where he had everything he needed for a photo studio. Working with him was a pleasure as he embraced the ideas of everyone on the creative team while still executing his vision. I remember walking away from that moment and feeling so inspired creatively by his spirit and passion. Plus he was just a really laid back very nice guy. I could not wait to work with him again.
We did and this time I was able to have him in the front of my lens on a few different occasions. I found photographing him so much fun because he was a photographer, with a strong knowledge of lighting and posing with patience for me while I was in my creative zone. When I look back to my photography work in Hawaii there are so many photographs that he was in that became some of my favourites. Even though we were not super close friends, I would be lying to say that he did not impact my life during that time. I have always lived a very nomadic life, not living in one place for longer than three years, ever. So the people who come in and out of my life, ever how short that is, become so important to me. Michael Bonner is definitely one of those people who I am just blessed to have gotten to meet.
While in the shock of hearing what had happened and trying to let it sink in, I instantly rushed to my Facebook to see what photographs I had readily available with him from Hawaii. One of the photos instantly made me catch my breath as I remembered he had left such a kind message about the photo and our work together. These were three different photo shoots where he modeled for me: A secret island garden shoot, a fashion shoot on a boat off of Oahu, and as part of my Secret Lies of Men & Women conceptual project. Sometimes guys on shoots can get lost among the women on set, and he always seemed to hold his own weight and complete the photograph. I feel like I could say so much but that I would rather just let the photos speak for themselves. I went through my hard drive this weekend and found some outtakes and behind the scenes photographs with Michael. I really wanted to share them here to show him doing what he loved. That is how I remember him and will continue to let his work that lives on to inspire as we go on.
This last photograph composite are both photographs that Michael Bonner took. The one on the left was the headshot he took of me and the one on the right is where I did hair for his photo shoot. Which ever side of the lens either of us was on, I can truly say it was an honour knowing Michael and I only wish that I could have gotten to know him better. I knew him at the beginning of my photography journey and I always wished that we could meet up again to put our creative minds together to create something wonderful. I am sure it will happen when we meet again in Heaven. Until then, scout out some great places to shoot Michael!
In Memory of Michael Bonner.
*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2014 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk unless otherwise credited to Michael Bonner.