Goodbye, Dear Friend
“Janet and I drove . . .,” “Janet and I prowled . . .,” “Janet and I went to . . . .” Since I started this blog in 2011, many of my entries have started this way. They no longer will. Janet Lustgarten died yesterday of a glioblastoma diagnosed less than a month ago.
Janet and I met in 2004 at a continuing-education class, Psychology of the Photographic Image, at what is now the Ringling College of Art and Design. We developed our friendship mostly by e-mail and car. Our excursions ventured as far as an hour or hour and a half would take us. While we chattered a blue streak all the way there and all the way back, we spoke little after reaching our destination, preferring communion through our cameras. Long before I started blogging, Janet and I would send each other our three favorite photographs of the outing. The responding e-mail carried out the critique lessons we learned at Ringling. In this way we each became a better photographer.
Janet always sought to improve her art, yet shunned public display of it for fear that too much feedback could alter her art practice. She knew what she wanted to achieve and was her own best judge of accomplishment. Janet’s nature and scenic photographs tended to project a strong mood and evoked equally strong emotional reactions. Her photos of family members and total strangers illustrated how she could put her subjects at ease and reveal character and personality.
Her analytical mind was adept not only in figuring out what made a good photograph but also at understanding and conveying to others meanings of movies, plays, art and art exhibitions, and conversations. Janet was a warm and generous person who will be missed every day.