A few years ago in the early morning one of my best friends in the world, Miles Morgan, called me with some news that he was in the emergency room due to some horrible pain in his abdomen. He thought it was likely kidney stones. Two hours later he called to inform me that it was actually a massive tumor on his kidney… massive.
This came out of nowhere and within days we were all scared for his life in the immediate future... It was cancer and it was that serious. I'd never cried that hard and that often as I did during the few days after his diagnosis leading up to his surgery. He’s my best friend who I called everyday to share laughs, tears, to vent emotions, and talk about life. I was terrified to lose one of the best men I have ever known. We loved each other unconditionally and without any judgement ever. That's a rare find in life.
A few hours before going under the knife, he called to let me know that he’d put me in his will as the beneficiary to his camera gear, computer, hard drives, and his archive of images. It’s something that he and I had always joked about doing for each other in such a situation, but I never thought that either of us would have to make it actually happen... at least not for a few more decades. It was a punch straight to the gut emotionally. I was already incredibly terrified for my friend, so talking about his will and thinking of how I could continue his legacy in photography if something were to go wrong during the operation… it was too much to handle. While waiting to hear the outcome of the surgery, I sat crying while imagining how I would feel using his camera, or processing his photos that he’d never gotten to, or if I could even bring myself to ever actually do those things. Being in someone's will is not a good feeling.
Well, Miles made it through surgery. We were all incredibly relieved for the time being. It had sounded like the rockstar doctors were able to remove all of the cancer and he would make a full recovery with a missing kidney as the price to pay. I would be able to continue sharing laughs and making memories with my best friend and eventually see he and his amazing wife become first-time parents. A truly beautiful thing that I'll never take for granted.
During his long recovery at home while still waiting to see if he would have any serious complications of living with one kidney, he floated the idea of buying a new computer. “Hey man, what do you think about the brand new iMacs? I mean, my current computer works just fine, so do you think it’s worth shelling out several thousand dollars for a brand new one?” I thought for a second. “Well, as the beneficiary of such assets in your will, yes, that’s a smart purchase. Go for it man, you deserve it. And really spec it out!” A fairly tactless joke that I wasn’t sure would go over well. But Miles being Miles, he broke out into laughter. It was the first time he and I were able to laugh about his cancer.
It’s now four years later, I’m still using my own iMac, and Miles is cancer free. I’m not going to call it a win-win situation, but I’ll take it. This photo was taken on our first photography trip together after his recovery. While shooting this sunrise with him, I couldn't help but feel emotional that he and I were back out in nature again doing what we love together, because there was a time we questioned if it would ever happen again. It's for that reason that this image holds a very special place in my heart.