The Art Of…Heart Attacks and Pelicans.

“Mr. Perrin, you are having a heart attack…”  IMG_0638

It was the last week of October, and the last thing I thought I would hear as Nurses and Emergency room technicians scurried around an overweight 42 year old who had spent the better part of the past few years merely existing.

The previous days had seen the continuation of a mundane routine filled out with fried chicken for breakfast, double meat burger for lunch and dinner…and an unhealthy supply of sleepless nights followed by sporadically active moments (this is the understatement of the century) and epic slothfulness, all while plotting to take over the world of photography with general awesomeness from the comfort of a broken down recliner.  What could possibly go wrong?

The morning of my cardio event (general term for a big medical word and classed up, less scary term for ‘Heart Attack’), I came home from my radio news job and decided to lay down because i wasn’t feeling up to par.  About 5 minutes into my routine, I noticed a little pain in my chest.  Not thinking much of it, but remembering countless commercials for warning signs, I decided to head to the doctor to let him check me out.  About half way to his office, I realized that I was not in the best way.  In fact, I was in serious trouble.  I pulled into a hospital here in Lake Charles, which had gone through a recent name change and ownership.  It was called Lake Area Medical Center…and that little hospital SAVED MY LIFE.

I spent 6 days in LAMC‘s ICU…where I received the care and attention normally reserved for heads of state and Arabian prince’s at world renown facilities.  I cannot understate what an amazing staff they have from the Doctors and Nurses, to the Techs, specialists, custodial, and especially the administration.  I’m just a guy who had a heart attack…and they treated me like humans should treat each other.  Respect, Care, and Compassion.

The few months since have been a learning process.  Not necessarily having to relearn life skills…but learning the true meaning of living a life.

I took a few weeks away from the camera.  Away from PerrinStudios.  Away from worry.  Away from existence.  I wanted to learn to live.  I began to look around again…not only at the big picture, but at the small things.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” –John Lennon.

I found myself, about a month or so ago, picking up my camera again and going down to a boat launch about 4 miles from my house.  I stepped to the back side of the main building to find a few pelicans had decided to chill out after, what i can only assume was an epic pelican party. That’s where I met “Gus”.

gus for mug

“Strangers passing in the street, by chance two separate glances meet..” –Gilmour/Wright/Mason/Waters.

Out of the 15-20 pelicans who were in various states of “chill”…Gus had it right.  Gus had the answer.  This pelican gets me.

What is it about the right moment in time, the right place, right atmosphere, right vibe, that can alter the course of existence and steer one onto the road of living?  Because that’s what Gus and all of his buddies have done for me.  Every weekend since, i’ve found myself…camera in hand…visiting Gus and his posse.  Every weekend, there’s a different angle, different light, different poses, etc…  It’s what has brought life back to me.  As simple as it sounds, a small thing like a pelican chilling out on a dock, has made a difference to me and to my attitude towards life, photography, art, and everything in between.  So, here’s to Gus!!!  I raise a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper to you (since I don’t drink, and since regular Dr. Pepper might end me.).

IMG_7911-2On one of my early trips to visit the ole boy, I found there were a few more Pelican’s hanging about than normal.  Under normal circumstances…and pre late October…I would have decided to head back home because “how many photos can I take of pelican’s chilling out?”  Well, my new desire and love of all things life, kept me around just watching them.  After a short time, a boat pulled up to the dock…the Pelican’s began to stir.  My spidey senses began to tingle.  Something was electric.  Something was about to happen.

A frenzy is the most appropriate description of the Pelican’s reaction to the fisherman who emerged from the boat and began to filet his catch.  I ran to the edge of the dock where 20-30 Pelicans began to frantically fly about, fighting for fish scraps tossed away by the man.  There I was, in the middle of Pelican chaos…and I was smiling and clicking the shutter as fast as my Canon 6D would shoot.  IMG_8669

The result was some of my favorite photographs i’ve  taken.  But the BIG pay off was being a part of something I never thought I would even care about while i was busy just existing.

I’ve been sober for close to four and a half years, and i’m grateful for every second…but it took that late October Myocardial infarction (there’s your $20 word) for me to realize life is more than existence.  It’s to be lived.  And to me, living means taking time to wait for the frenzy.


Next up…The Art of…Sol.

PS…Pelicans can be a bit testy.  So, keep safety in mind…ALWAYS.

PS again…Almonds and Yogurt.  Yes please!

**All images copyright PerrinStudios.  Reproduction without permission is forbidden.**

The Art Of…Heart Attacks and Pelicans.

Art…light and music.

This week saw the release of what, by all accounts, will be the final Pink Floyd album “The Endless River”.  As an AVID fan (those who know me know that is an understatement) I’ve been flooded with emotions and reflective this week about not only the album and my Floyd geekdom…but about how I got to this place in this moment in time, where I am now…the owner of a company, with my wife, whose tagline is “…the art in every moment.”

“Let’s go back, Let’s go back, Let’s go way on back when…” -A. Franklin

Growing up, I was always fascinated by colored lights…christmas lights, buttons on appliances, light bright, space ship control panels, etc.  My father even built me a space ship cockpit with little light up buttons he got at an army surplus store…loved that damn thing!!!  Anyway, anything that lit up and had color, I was digging!!  (i’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s…dig?).

There was also a fascination with music.  I had a little olive green record player that you could stack about 8 records on and I would load that thing up with the big records of the day…Sesame Street Christmas, anything Disney, the Star Wars Story album…ya know, the hits.  I would play those records day and night…going to sleep with a stack of wax loaded up.  Ended up burning that poor record player out.  But, by then I had a tape player.  Anyway, I digress.

It was a simple time…read along stories playing on a record player while making cool designs on my light bright.  Who knew that times like those would be such a major player in my life so many years later?

“Tongue tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I…” – D. Gilmour

My father was an amateur photographer…a DAMN good one, at that.  He had a darkroom, could develop his own film, make his own prints, and even do color correction with the photoshop of the day…big pack of color pencils.  I loved playing around with all his camera gear…he had a ton of it!!!  Nikon, Canon, Mamyia…speedlites, backdrops, light meters, etc, etc, etc.  But, as interested as I was…all that gear “is not a toy!!!”.  He did eventually buy me an older nikon with a coupla decent lenses and a flash.  I took that camera to summer art camp that year and had a blast with it until the photography instructor got in trouble for saying a cuss word infront of us kids and, I guess, was dismissed a few days before it was over.  (little did they know we were already using those words thanks to smokey and the bandit.)

My love of photography started back then…but ended up on the shelf as the years went by. It was first put up by the disease of Ulcerative Colitis, which I was diagnosed with around 1985.  I just felt too bad to move, much less pick up a camera.  So, shelf it went.

As I got older, my taste in music changed…moving from Sesame Street and Disney, to the Footloose soundtrack, PacMan Fever, and Huey Lewis (some may argue that my change in taste was a lateral move).

In the later part of 1987, a friend of mine forced me to listen to this strange CD.  Made me sit there and listen.  As the music started, I kept asking…”well, where’s the singing????”  I was holding the jewel box, looking at the cover…there was one guy shaking hands with another guy…and one of them was on fire.  “Dude, this is stupid…what the hell is this?”  44 minutes and 28 seconds later, my life had made a considerable hard right turn.  After the next 44 minutes and 28 seconds…the small embers, that were barely burning from those early childhood fascinations, began to burn brighter.  What was needed was more fuel for the fire.

“a momentary lapse of reason, that binds a life to a life…” – D. Gilmour / P.Manzanera 

The albums, the cover-art…stirred my imagination.  The video for their “comeback” single “Learning to Fly” featured their live stage set up for their 1987 world tour.  As the kids say…OMG.  Visuals, Music, Lights.  And it still has the same fascination to me today.  Staring at the album covers, listening to the each album beginning to end (the only way one SHOULD listen to ANY album), watching the “Delicate Sound of Thunder” concert video, seeing them live twice during their 1994 Division Bell tour.  All those little embers of light brights, christmas lights, and olive green record players…the fires now rage.

As I listened to “The Endless River” this week…as I am at the time of this writing…I am brought back to not only the first time of hearing and seeing those beautiful images in my head…but i’m brought back to that record player, to that light bright, to that homemade spaceship cockpit, to that olive green record player. Brought back to the innocence and I feel young.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was out doing some shooting around our property in south Lake Charles, Louisiana…it’s a beautiful piece of land with some great trees and bushes.  Great for sunsets, nature and portrait shoots…and we don’t have to waste gas!  Anyway…as I was shooting, I caught myself playing songs in my head, pacing myself and shooting to the music in my head.  Playlist that hour was The Band, Rush, and one of the great bluesmen of all time, Son House.  All art is symbiotic.  And as human beings, art is as necessary for us as air and water.  Art is what keeps us humans from being lawn chairs.     

All those moments. Images, Music, Lights, Colors, Emotion, Thought…colliding into a single moment. That’s what was going through my mind when I came up with the tag line for PerrinStudios…”the art in every moment.” Everyone has those moments when it all comes together…whatever “it” is for each of us. That’s what we want to free from the ever moving hands of time. Those moments. That is what we do.

Art…light and music.