How To’s – A Great Marriage

Self Portrait with my Camera Sherpa

Self Portrait with my Camera Sherpa © 2010 Bo Mackison

This is me. I’m the photographer – see the arm with the camera raised in position to take a photograph of the bare path. And the other shadowy figure? He’s my camera Sherpa. That is my partner’s description of himself when he is out in the field with me.

At first, he only carried my camera gear – HIS choice – because he didn’t like the (very) casual way I flung my sling backpack around when I was in a hurry to change lenses for the next shot. He thinks camera lenses are not expensive toys to fling about, and he is right.

He is also a numbers guy: lots of initials behind his name at the office; analytical; organized in a scary sort of way; innate ability to read 30 pages of tax code and interpret the gobbledygook into meaningful directives. (Well, maybe not meaningful, but he does interpret them.)

But now, the changes are a’ comin’. He’s arriving home from his work-related meetings, hours away from our town, and saying, “You gotta see this barn. It will make a great photo. Three silos!” Or “Let’s drive to Galena this weekend. If we get there early enough, the sunlight should be perfect on the old stone houses.” He knows the Golden Rule and the Rule of Thirds. He’s commenting on my photos, and not saying things like “nice” or “pretty” or “what is it?” any longer.

And not only are his talents blooming in the creative direction. He’s also muttering things like, “Turning your photography into a business makes so much sense…” and “Now as a legal entity, you need to make a business plan…” and “When you go market your product, keep your receipts…” and “Our photo expedition to the Southwest this fall – $5.00/gallon gas – all those expenses… tax-deductible!”

Hey, no wonder I’ve kept this guy around for 33 years. He’s pretty remarkable.

In lots and lots of ways.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. lee friedlander taken to the next level. maybe even a lil’ james agee with that description. you two are too cute

  2. jeanabaena says:

    very nice. good luck with the whole business thing!

  3. It’s just great to have a partner like that, Bo!

  4. jpt ~ I do like Friedlander’s self-portraits with shadows, though I admit I had to go look up his name and examine his work. You are inspiring me to learn about the ‘name’ photographers. I like the one photo done in Arizonia with the weed coming out the shadow of his head the best! (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona 1983)

  5. Thanks, Jeanne. Maybe I should head east to take photos, too.

  6. montucky ~ you are SO right! Having another nature lover as an assistant is priceless.

  7. Bo, I so enjoy when you share a little bit about yourself. And photography is about yourself and journey and marriage.

    Your shadow photo reminded me when I had taken a shot of my shadow with the morning sun rising behind me. My shadow was very long stretched down the road. LOL It’s great to have a camera partner, that I know. My camera/photographer partner and I have nearly 30 years together.

    Time goes fast, doesn’t it?

    Hmm… In your shadow photo, while you are looking through the lens, you have a guardian shadow nearby, your camera Sherpa. 🙂

  8. My wife is my worst critic and my best promoter, she drives me crazy when she is over my shoulder when I am processing an image, but she is able to network with a lot of people and my biggest paying jobs have come from people who see my work hanging in her office !!

    So for now I guess I will keep her around 😉

  9. Your blog is blooming like the flowers of Spring. It’s very nice to see who is behind the shadows. And the flowers are so very fine.
    It seems as if you are evolving and moving forward.
    It’s fun to watch.
    I have one of those scarily analytical guys in my family too. Only he is my son-in-law. And he’s taking my daughter and children to live up there in DC very soon.
    Moving forward. I don’t think five dollar a gallon gas is going to slow any of us down too much. Maybe we will just end up with one less lens to throw around.

  10. And congratulations on having a Page Rank of 5. Some of us are 4’s. That’s pretty cool.

  11. I have such a partner too Bo..they are wonderful. As my Grandmother says..they are “keepers”

    I am looking forward to following along on your venture..both creative and business. 🙂

  12. great photo & story.

  13. How great to see you BO! 🙂

  14. Sounds almost like my husband – grin 😀
    Aren’t they the greatest?

    Would love to see your exhibition!

  15. I giggled through your whole commentary… sounds so much like my relationship too. (He’s the brains and I’m the creativity.) I drive him crazy that I never finish anything and I wonder why he finishes everything! Sounds like a beautiful union. (p.s. I really related to … can we drive to this spot and that spot there was a bald eagle…) I’m lucky he gets as excited seeing wild elk as me. Well… like you coulda been luck or we just picked them right.

  16. Oh I love Galena! What a great guy you have. 🙂

  17. It’s always wonderful to have understanding support.

  18. Anna ~ yes, a sherpa is a good thing. I love the way you and Preston share a photoblog – that is really cool.

    Bernie ~ now if my sherpa would bring me paying customers, I’d have it all!

    David ~ Thanks. I had to go figure out what a 5 page rank was after I read your comment. Now I know. Cool!

    gypsy ~ yes, “keepers” my grandma used that phrase, too. 🙂

    gandalf ~ thank you

    mon@rch ~ so you liked my ‘portrait’, hey?

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