He was delighted to inform me that he'd found a piece of paradise...in Connecticut. Dennis Stock had a sense of humor that I suspect not everyone that met him readily understood. When I graduated from college and moved to New York City, it was partly encouraged by his spirit of purpose, which I had the great fortune of benefiting from more than once. But it was also despite his very jaded opinion of the city life, particularly that city which can trap so many unsuspecting worshipers. Given his origins and background, you might read the lines above suspiciously. However, when one spoke to him and perceived his longing for nature, particularly the countryside of Provence, though underwhelmed by the Europeans' enthusiastic inclination to gravely declare their dramatic convictions, a more clear picture of what drove him came to light. "
Keep it simple!", he would insist each time I'd trip over my own words (or pictures.)
I grew to love, admire and respect Dennis for his honesty and the warmth of that wicked smile with which he greeted me every time. It was Dennis who first told me how very bad my first steps in the deceivingly instantaneous craft of photography were and who gave me the first and longest-lasting kicks in the ass to find within myself a way to grow with it and through it. To this day, the lessons from the conversations we exchanged guide many of my endeavors. It was Dennis who, in our last exchange, kept me from jumping ship when the going got more difficult than anybody could have convinced me it would become. "When you get to be my age, you'll look back on your visual journeys with the satisfaction of knowing you lived a fuller life than most people."
During the same exchange we made plans to catch up this winter. It never happened and my heart aches for that. So, looking forward and moving on with the memory of this terrific man, I raise a glass tonight and toast to his presence. Thank you Dennis for your guidance, for your honesty, for your friendship and may your spirit continue to grow in time. I am grateful for you. May you find blissful and eternal new pieces of paradise.Hasta siempre, caballero. My gratitude always.