The sad truth of life is that we lose our friends along the way. Frank died this past December after a few years of fighting various health problems.
I've thought about how to remember him, our times together, the many things he taught me, and did for me. I wanted to share just a few of my Frank stories.
In the early days, I lived around the corner from Frank and his wife Ruth. Both principal architects at Lincoln Street Studio, and both heavily involved at the AIA (where I worked at the time). I would see them frequently. Usually I'd stop by in the morning and evening while walking my dog. Often these evening visits would result in a few glasses of wine and conversations on design. I was a sponge, consuming all they shared, both knowledge and wine.
It was through our conversations, and my exploration of design through photography that in March 08' Frank asked me to photograph his building. A real honor for me that Frank was the first to ever ask. The studio had just finished the 4H Center at Ohio State and while it was winter they wanted some photos to enter an upcoming design competition. I agreed to provide photos, in exchange, Frank would design a media center for me.
Frank called early one morning and said today was the day. He picked me up before work and literally drove me around the building as I snapped some photos. The whole shoot took about a half hour. Needless to say, this would not be our best work together. But it sufficed, and out of it I got my first experience being the client in a design process. It was a great look into his process, attention to details, and creative mind that he gave to every project.
I was always interested in the latest project. For me, it's like getting a view into the future. On occasion, Frank would mention that I should stick around for an project meeting. Anything heard was to be kept secret but he was always willing to teach and share. This particular meeting involved a friend giving some advice on a [redacted] design issue. Friend was happy to help and offered to work for free, but Frank said no. You're a professional, if you work, you should be paid. It's what he expected when he worked, and what we should all expect.
I'll always remember Frank for his sharp edge and ability to tell you exactly what he thought. He was always thoughtful, fair, and most admirably direct. He spared no one, I was certainly not exempt.
Frank and Ruth had asked me to photograph the office staff. We did simple head shots, along with a shot of each person working in the studio. Frank hated having his picture taken, and shared his feelings with me quite openly during our shoot. It wasn't until Ruth sat down just outside of the frame that Frank settled a bit and took, what Ruth calls the "last great photo of Frank", which in my mind, would have never happened without Ruth there.
My last visit to Frank was in the hospital, a few of us went to try and keep his spirits up. Frank happened to have a new lovely young nurse. As she was leaving the room and I say, "Hey Frank! Next time, put your glasses on!" and he gets this spark in his eye and flashes his patented smile.
Until the end, he had his wit, and his mind. Thank you Frank, we'll all miss you very much.