I’ve already written my farewell to Dave LaBelle. I wrote it in California, a place I have only ever seen because Dave loved me enough to invite me out with his family. The man has changed my life and given me so much direction, that I consider him a parent that took me in after I left my small nest in Middlesboro. Having met him, I think my parents would give their consent on that role as well.

Dave leaves this weekend. I wont see him until I make an effort to get back out to California for a week or so, or until he comes back this time next year. No matter what, his departure scares me. He has helped me gain so much direction in my life, and he could have done it all without the motivation of photography. I don’t care who you are, or what your interested in, Dave can talk to you and leave you with that, different, feeling.

But a part of Dave’s personality, is how free he is. He wont be locked down and will not be tamed. He will do what he feels right, which is something I’ve learned to respect most about him. At this time, it is right for him to head back to Oak View, California, where his wife Erin and boys, Henry and Tucker, are waiting. I hope sometime before next fall they’re there, waiting for me.

Dave told me at the workshop that he can’t wait until I’m coming back to help him with them, so he can be with all of us again and tell stories and just have fun with us. I’m already honored that he said that, because it means he has faith. He has faith I’ll be successful and good at whatever I do.

All this aside, because I believe I could type forever about how much I love Dave LaBelle (and have, click here), I wanted to show you what one of my best friends had to say about this situation. Allie Garza nearly made me cry with her farewell to Dave on her blog.

Please, click here to see what she had to say.

Between the lines:
For those of you who are in Lexington tomorrow (Thursday Oct. 4) please stop by the Journalism Building in the Maggie Room, which is the first room on the left if you come through the front doors, sometime between 4-6 pm. Dave will be there and we will be having a farewell to the one who has revived UK photojournalism and changed the lives of every student who has had the opportunity to work with him.


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