A long time ago, way back in 1990 I think, I made my last 'pilgrimage' to Hawaii.
I'd wanted to finally get that Big Wave, or that Tube Ride that would confirm to me I was truly a surfer, or remotely worthy of calling myself one. To me back then that meant riding something substantial, with Waimea being my Everest, as Pipeline is to some, Sunset to others, and the local beachbreak to others again.
I had some minor success, a lot of gurgling, but never managed a 20 foot wave, though I was out there when a couple came through and possibly rode something close. it's really neither here nor there. You try, you do, or not, and you move on.
While there though I took lots of snaps, back then I had my trusty F2 Nikon, and amongst the photographs I took was one of Robbie Page exiting the water at Waimea. Taken on a long lens, it was a simple clean shot that had some nice shapes going on, and it sat with the rest of my transparencies in a sleeve, in a drawer.
Years went by and in the mid nineties the troubles in the former Yugoslavia were in full swing. I'd looked in horror as we all did at what went on over there and one image in particular really got to me.
A baby in pink, killed with it's parents in the hills as they tried to flee across the mountains. Normal people living normal lives and then all hell breaks loose as old hatreds turn sane men and women in to lunatics.
I'd been toying with what to do with the Robbie image, and had pushed and pulled the colours until he became this sort of Golden Child, and it made me think about how lucky we are to live where we do, do what we do, to have the time and opportunity to create, love, play or just sit and contemplate our navels.
I thought of doing some juxtaposition of dead child and a golden one, but I struggled with it.. it was both obvious and a bit gross, and ... at the time I just felt... no.
So I zoned in to the little one's dummy*, that baby implement I was so familiar with as at the time I had two under 5, and Tom, even though already Hell Boy incarnate, liked his dummy.
A border of dummies resulted and I had the piece output on art paper as a big beautiful print, called it 'After Kosovo', had it framed, and brought it home.
As soon as I told Sue what it was all about she wouldn't have it in the house. I gave it to my mate Shacko for his birthday, and refrained from telling him what was behind it.
It sits today on the wall of his house, he loves it I think, but he's blissfully unaware of the child on the hill in the Balkans.
And since he doesn't read the blog, he'll remain so.
*Lost in translation? A dummy is Australian English for pacifier.