Don Coleman: Part I
My Grandpa was a high school basketball coach for 30+ years. Growing up, anytime I would go with him somewhere we would run into a former player of his that would talk about how he had changed their life and how much he meant to them. These images of him popped into my head two years before I had this photoshoot with him. They were burned into my brain but as his health started to quickly deteriorate, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to create them.
Ten years before he had suffered a heart attack and stroke. He was dead for a number of minutes before being revived. Ever since he has struggled physically and mentally. Getting him to go anywhere is hard work for him and anyone helping. Finally a time came when he was well enough. I talked with the school he used to coach at and reserved the old gym for the shoot. Then the day before the shoot he started going downhill physically and struggled with even getting from his bed to his favorite chair. I thought we would have to cancel.
My amazing Grandmother got him to the gym. We were worried we wouldn’t be able to get any images because of his condition, but the most amazing thing happened. We got him in the chair he used to sit in for the games and he came alive! He became mentally sharp and was the perfect model. He was having fun! A couple of minutes in there were tears in his eyes and mine as we relived his favorite memories from his coaching days.
Finally seeing the images that had been burned in my brain for years through the viewfinder and releasing the shutter was an experience that words really can't describe. It was more than a dream come true. It was a special day with my Grandpa that I will never forget.