On January 11, 2016, when I asked to be driven up the hill to North Head to catch the final sunset of our visit to Australia, I could not have expected the experience waiting for me. When I got out of the car the sun was already in it’s final moments, passing through the low clouds over Sydney. I quickly set up my tripod next to 4 women who had planted their blanket and a small picnic of cheese and wine on the hill overlooking the harbor. I didn’t pay much attention to them as I attended to the camera settings and snapped my first few photos. But then I realized they were celebrating.
The announcement that David Bowie had lost his battle to cancer had come only hours earlier and these four women were celebrating his life by playing his music as the they watched nature’s beauty unfold. Just as they sun was fading into the horizon, perfectly timed, the words to Bowie’s “Memory Of A Free Festival” rang out… “The children of the summer’s end gathered in the dampened grass… Someone passed some bliss among the crowd and we walked back to the road, unchained. The sun machine is coming down, and we’re gonna have a party.”
The chorus of that song plays for almost four minutes. The sun machine was going down and they were having a party, and celebrating Bowie’s life. As the song ended, the sun was gone and they cheered and clapped. And I clapped with them and thanked them. And they thanked me for enjoying the moment with them. I couldn’t resist taking just one photo of them in celebration. It is a moment I will never forget.
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