There’s not a word yet
for old friends you’ve just met
Many years ago, I read an article in slate about the different types of “camp people”, which offered a gradient of ex-campers, from those who hated the experience to those who loved it. Beyond the people who really really really loved camp, the had an even more fervent group called “camp cultists”, those who love camp so much it is a part of them. These people become wildly successful in life, which is no surprise to me at all. The people I met at camp represent a type of family that brings an ease of being together, and free flowing of talking and sharing, that so rarely exists outside of lifelong friends.
I can go years without talking with my camp friends, and then spend hours laughing.
And so it was also with Emma and Al. They came to camp after my tenure had ended, being a few years younger than me. And yet, I was thrilled to drive to Chicago to take engagement photos for them in the town they have chosen to call home. For their engagement photos, we walked around Grant park with a gorgeous view of the Chicago skyline. We caught up like the old friends that we now are, and I couldn’t be more excited to photograph their wedding later this summer. Full of other old friends I haven’t met yet.
Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.
― Frank Lloyd Wright
This quote, by Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright, could be read a few different ways. Perhaps he meant that Chicago would grow and change and become a city more beautiful, more great than New York or Tokyo. But perhaps we should read this another way – that those larger, greater cities would implode upon themselves, become un-beautiful, grow too fast or too ugly, and leave Chicago, the lesser sister of US cities, to take her place as the greatest city simply by enduring.
Endurance, the ability to maintain and grow deliberately, to value beauty but not bow to trends – those are qualities valued in the upper midwest – from Chicago to Minneapolis and Madison. They are also the qualities of good relationships – enduring, planning for greatness, enjoying the beauty they possess.
So, I traveled to Chicago for photos of Emma and Al in their adopted city. A different skyline that speaks to their lives there, a symbol of their current happy life together, and a marker of this new phase in their relationship.