During fall of 1993, I went on my first mission trip to Australia, an experience only some of my subsequent trips have been able to match. Among other mementos–I’m still wearing some of the tee-shirts–were several postcards featuring photos by famous Australian photographer Ken Duncan. They were out of this world!
I didn’t know much about Ken, but several months later when I went into a bookstore in a local mall back here in the States, I came across a beautiful coffee table-sized book of photographs by Ken Duncan. I hadn’t realized that any of his work was available in the U.S., so I was thrilled.
The book was called Australia Wide, which is also the name of his gallery. It’s based on the fact that he specializes in wide-angle shots he refers to as panographs.
I bought a copy. In looking through the acknowledgments, I noticed these words italicized in small print, which made them all the more distinctive:
This book is dedicated to a friend who died and rose again that we may have life in Him. His name is Jesus.
I immediately mailed a letter to Ken’s gallery address–I didn’t have an email address for him–commending him for sharing his faith that way. Sometime later I received a nice acknowledgement from Ken’s wife, Pam. We ended up corresponding off and on by fax for several years.
During one of my subsequent trips to Australia, I was staying with my friend and host pastor, George Stubbs. When I mentioned my interest in Ken, he learned that Ken’s main gallery was only an hour or two away. After making sure Ken would be there, he offered to drive me.
Some people would be thrilled at the prospect of meeting their favorite movie star or recording artist, but going to see Ken was just as exciting for me.
When we got there, Pam explained that Ken was in a meeting and wouldn’t be able to come out while we were there. Yes, I was disappointed, but meeting Pam was really nice.
So can you imagine my surprise when Ken’s meeting ended early and he came out to join us! He’s a tall man, but very quiet.
In fact, when he allowed me to take a picture of him and Pam, he looked almost shy. I’m the one who should have been terrified, though. Imagine, amateur photographer me taking a photo of a world-famous photographer like Ken Duncan.
I’d brought several cassette tapes of my music to give them, and they gave me a copy of one of Ken’s books. More than a fair trade!
Pam also gave me one of her business cards, and it’s unreal! It actually features the whole of one of Ken’s most exciting ocean photos. I never fail to marvel that it could be reduced to something that size without losing its effectiveness.
Ken has another gallery in Sydney relatively close to the Opera House. I’ve enjoyed several visits there over the years, reminiscing about meeting Ken and Pam and–of course–buying more of his pictures.
This poor gal didn’t get to tell me no photos were allowed until I’d already snapped this one. I assured her no one would be able to copy and steal any of Ken’s work from that picture.
What about you? Have you ever met someone you consider a celebrity, even though he or she might not be considered one by just everyone? How about sharing a comment?
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