I Photograph to Remember
by Pedro Meyer
In 1990, at a party in Bill Viola’s backyard, I was talking to a stranger who told me he had just seen something wonderful — a CD-ROM about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He had no idea that I worked at Voyager which had just published it. This led to a discussion and he invited me to visit him at his LA studio. Pedro Meyer had just completed In addition to showing me his latest work — a series of photographs about the US from the perspective of a Mexican artist — Pedro Meyer also showed me 90 photographs he had taken of his parents in the last three years of their life. It was a beautiful story with unexpected twists and turns and Pedro has a gorgeous voice. As I listened I realized I was experiencing a slideshow and that given the arrival of higher-resolution computer monitors I could imagine “publishing” a photographic story at high enough quality for others to enjoy. Pedro, a brilliant perfectionist worked on this for a year with Voyager programmer, Brock LaPorte.
We managed to get a slot at the prestigious Seybold Digital World conference in LA where we showed the 30-minute piece in its entirety. For almost everyone in the 500-person audience (the vast majority male executives in suits) this was the very first time they had seen a computer used to convey a story full of pathos and emotion. The effect was stunning as a normally noisy audience was stone-silent for thirty minutes.
The image below is one of my favorites. Pedro’s father had just been diagnosed with cancer. Pedro, who had an uneasy relationship with his father who was not all that keen about his son’s choice to become a photographer, decided to use this moment as a way of healing. Pedro asked his father if he could take a picture and his father said, sure, what do you want me to do. Pedro replied, “Whatever you want to do” and his father said “I want to fly.”