Exactly one year ago I joined my close friends Mike and Meghan in the United States for two glorious weeks of creative partnership and collaboration. Together, with the support of Nikon Asia, we made a collection of photographs and created a short film with folk and roots musician Ben Taylor at his home on beautiful Martha's Vineyard. It was a fantastic opportunity to work on an exciting project, as well as experience a picturesque corner of Atlantic America.
Following our shoot on Martha's Vineyard, we retired to Mike and Meghan's seaside home in Rockport, Massachusetts to edit our work. A small town of just 7,000 people, Rockport is located about 40km northeast of Boston at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides, Rockport is a quaint tourist destination filled with cafés, boutiques and art galleries; a wonderful place to spend a few days working and enjoying nature and the local flavours.
One of the highlights of my visit to Rockport was spending time with Meghan's brother, Matt Shea, who also called the small cottage home. Every day we'd take a break for a walk or coffee with Matt; and every evening the four of us would have dinner and drinks together on the balcony overlooking the lobster boats at Bradley Wharf and the iconic red Motif Number 1, "a fishing shack well known to students
of art and art history as 'the most often-painted building in America.'"
Prior to this visit, I had met Matt only briefly -- when I was in America in 2008 -- but it was during this trip that I got to know him much better. Matt was warm and welcoming. He loved comedy and had a dry sense of humour himself. He always had a baseball cap on his head and he wore shorts every day, despite the weather barely reaching above 10 degrees celsius. I loved my time with him.
For more than a decade Matt battled cancer. On April 17, 2013, at the age of 27, he lost this battle.
I made this photograph one evening while Mike, Meghan, Matt and I sat on the balcony and watched the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. It was a special photograph for me, and upon my return to Singapore I gave a print of this to Mike and Meghan to thank them for the friendship and warm hospitality they showed me in Rockport.
But now this photograph has different meaning for me. Now it will always remind me of Matt and the time we shared together. I have wonderful memories of joyful moments with a special friend. It is these times, and this photograph, that I will choose to reflect upon when I remember Matt and how he touched us all.