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On Shooting Neurochromes – Guest Post By Skip Cohen

I finally arrived in Vegas at 5:30am after an 18 hour bus ride, and no sleep (I thought it was going to be nice adventure at the time…STUPID). After I grabbed a bite to eat I arrived at the Going Pro workshop two hours early. There was no one there, but a guy setting up his projector. To my amazement it was one of the speakers (the other is Scott Bourne) I traveled so far to see, and a man I’ve admired since the beginning of my photography journey. It was Skip Cohen. If you don’t know Skip he’s a writer, and was the former president of Hasselblad, Rangefinder Magazine, and WPPI. After telling him my nightmare travel story he was kind enough to give me his only book Going Pro and signed it! That was worth the travel pains. He also was kind enough to be a guest blogger on PWB.

So often a scene unfolds in front of us and we’re caught without a camera. So, what do you do? You can’t just walk away. The only thing you can shoot is a neurochrome. Neurochromes are pure memories occupying every little corner of your brain. They’re permanent memory “chips” not affected by any manufacturer. They have unlimited capacity. They’re never on back-order and they’re always free. You’ve got unlimited inventory, but you have to stay alert or, just like a wedding photographer who’s not paying attention, you’ll miss the moment.

Image by Cantrell Portrait Design

I spent three days with my folks last week. They’re in their eighties and my mother has fairly advanced Alzheimer’s. The moments when the “sun peaks out from behind the clouds” so you can have a conversation, are happening less and less. My mom and dad have been married for almost 64 years and through that entire time, they’ve been each other’s very best friends.

The other night we watched a little TV and like so many previous trips I had fun “tucking them in”. As I shut off the light I noticed they were holding hands. It wasn’t just a couple holding hands, it was my dad saying, “Don’t worry I’m here!” as my mother replied, “I know. If you let go I’m lost!” There were no words spoken between them, they just held hands, smiling and said good night.

No camera, no film – I could only shoot a neurochrome. But the image of the two of them, like a Hollywood scene of a lifeboat on rocky seas, hanging on and supporting each other without a single word ever spoken, left an image for me to cherish. The image was so strong, that in spite of people who will tell me this is an inappropriate post for a photography blog, I wanted to share it with you anyway.

As photographers you’re trained to capture memories. Your entire business model is about seeing those moments your clients might miss. Everything you do with a camera in your hands is about being somebody else’s eyes. It’s an incredible responsibility because neurochromes, while some have been known to stay vivid forever, most eventually fade. However, as photographers your images don’t need to disappear as long as you never compromise on the quality and effort you put into capturing and producing them.

I’ve got this wonderful vision of dad and mom holding hands and the expressions on both their faces. It’s a neurochrome and only mine to view. Do I wish I had a photograph of them holding hands? Absolutely, but there isn’t a camera on the planet that could have captured what I witnessed!

Photo by Gregory Heisler

You can follow Skip Cohen at Skips Photo Network.