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August 04, 2010

Chris Gulker's Last Picture Show


I HAVE A GOOGLE ALERT set up for Chris Gulker and got a fright when Google told me about his "last picture show." Not knowing what I was going to see, I read a bit of gallows humour as Chris discussed the upcoming photo exhibition in Cafe Zoe, featuring many of his own shots. As an international journalist, Chris has shot and syndicated more images than anyone I know in Ireland. His love of photography almost resulted in me buying a black and white camera since his B&W work is superb. I hope some of it hangs in Cafe Zoe for at least three months--longer than the time Chris expects to live.


I've been following Chris in his struggle with Glioma, reading science journal articles to learn how a brain tumor causes people to stumble occasionally, feel numbness in extremities and experience local motor seizure. Chris has survived all that and he knows what it means in terms of his personal health. He says, "the MRI reveals three new tumors that weren’t in my brain 12 weeks ago. In my understanding of Glioma, this represents a not-untypical course for the end stage of this almost invariably fatal disease. Prognosis at this point? A few months, at best."

I owe a lot to Chris Gulker and his sharing. Because of his online style and infectious advocacy of technology, I waded into the deep waters of Adobe Acrobat. I kept checking the main page of his website even when I could have depended on its newsfeed because I could see him through a webcam that he kept perched on his bookshelf. Because of the eight-hour time difference between California and Ireland, I mostly saw a dark room. I also watched him bring his Mac into the kitchen, cooking over a gas hob. Eight years after I first saw his abundant garden vegetable patch, I finally have tomatoes that might trump his best.

I used to walk Menlo Park in the late 70s and I've jogged up the Dish too. I was probably within three miles of Chris and his camera on several occasions. I've old shots taken at Big Sur and memories of Stanford's campus before personal computers. I've seen some of those images in the Gulker Photo Albums. I'm probably around the same age as Chris Gulker, which makes the sunset of his days all the more poignant for me.

In Ireland, family wakes are times for remembering, time for catching up. It's my hope that the gentle words of Paul Simon will waft through the air as hospice care starts in the Gulker home.


American Tune


Looping Paul Simon's American Tune for Chris Gulker.


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