Ron Berg celebrates the unsung hero.

Awhile ago I asked all of our artists to consider the question, “Who is your hero?”  Hunter Freeman and Kevin Twomey sent along responses that were not surprising at all.  Now it is Ron Berg’s turn and once again it is proved that everyone is true to their brand.  Ron is a thoughtful and caring person.   So, of course he wrote the following.

“When Heather gave me this assignment over a year ago. It had become a true albatross for me. A writer I am not!  I had thought about it often and finally, one day, ‘what defines a hero for me’ came to me as I was “people watching”.

Since a child I have always been a subconscious intent observer of people and the human condition.  My parents would have to continually remind me to quit staring.  And, as many who know me, I’m a bit of the quiet type and more of a listener and spectator.  I swing from humility to repulsive as an observer. Lately, there seems to be a lot of head shaking in disbelief. Deep breath, Ron!

So when it hit me, it reminded me that those that continue to inspire and humble me are those who are NOT heroic in the true sense. They are the people I wish I were more like. Isn’t that what makes a hero? Not athletes, celebrities, reality stars, and the beautiful.  Why is it that we continue to celebrate and revere? I’m guilty…it’s all too easy to fall for them.  I find it as easy as the next guy to get sucked-in to fame and stardom due to the inundation of information and all forms of media we are subjected to.

I have to goose myself back to reality often. We are ALL only human after-all…right?

Or do those in the limelight fall into that just super human category?  I think not!

So for me it is those that are the unsung. Those that daily, hourly, and probably most every second of their lives make sacrifices; for themselves, for their families and for strangers alike.

As the saying goes… Pay It Forward, Smile to a Stranger, and make an extraordinary sacrifice!”

What do Elliott Erwitt and Hunter’s Freeman’s wife have in common?

When I asked Hunter Freeman to consider the questions, “Who is your hero?” for our blog series, I wasn’t surprised by his answers one bit.

Here is what he had to say:

“This is difficult to narrow down to one person.  Photographically, the closest I can get to one “hero” would be Elliott Erwitt.  He is to me the epitome of a joy-filled photographer.  He’s able to see so much love and joy and fun in our world, which can be an enormous challenge, considering all the tragedy that confronts us on a daily basis.

I feel that he would rather show us the love that is in the world than the hate, show us things that will uplift us, rather than depress us.  To help explain what I mean, for example, there are many reasons that soldiers make jokes in the midst of tremendously awful situations (which can often seem macabre to any civilian, including me), but with so much “awfulness”, I conclude that what they, and by extension, all of us, most need, is not for that awfulness to be constantly pointed out, but for something funny, or ridiculous, or just outrageously incongruous to spotlighted.

It allows us to relax, to feel at ease, not under pressure, not filled with the cares of this world.   Elliott Erwitt has persistently focussed on that which is funny, or charming, or goofy, or just simply lovely.  With so much crap out there bombarding us all, that persistence is heroic, in my book (or iPad).

My real hero, though, is my wife.  She is Love personified.  Except when she’s not, which is very rare indeed.”
To see more of Hunter’s work check out his website and his blog.  You can see first hand how his heroes have influenced his photography.

What do Peter Gabriel and Tom Seaver have in common? Just ask Kevin Twomey.

© Kevin Twomey (image from his college thesis)

I am always intrigued by what inspired photographers or who they look to as their heroes. I thought it would make for an interesting blog series so I asked our photographers the questions, “Who would you call your hero?”  Here is what Kevin Twomey had to say.

“If you had asked me who my hero was when I was 7 years old, I would have immediately answered , “Tom Seaver of the NY Mets.”  During my college years, maybe it would have been Tennessee Williams or Sebastião Salgado.

Today that is a bit more difficult to answer. It ranges from organic farmers to whistle-blowers, but in the creative realm, one person I have admired for years is the musician Peter Gabriel.

Beyond my appreciation for the catalogue of music he has created throughout his career and how he has branded himself, I have admired his passion for world music.  He was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the WOMAD festivals, as well as foundingReal World Records, a label that focuses on bringing together musicians from all over the world.

In addition, his involvement in Human Rights, starting the organization Witness to put cameras in the hands of people to document human rights violations, shows his focus is on solutions, not problems.

(In my eyes), he is truly a musician who is not just “mouthing the words.”

If you would like to contribute to our series and share who your hero is, please do email us.