Some of you may have been wondering what’s happened to my productivity. No new photo test results for three months. What’s going on? I had hoped to delay the story behind that until I had good news to report, but DPR’s impending demise means that this may be the end of my time in being able to communicate there, and it wouldn’t make sense for me to write this and not post it on my own blog, so I must tell only part of my tale; the rest is yet to occur.
On January 2, I was making photographs of out-of-focus Christmas tree bulbs. I’d seen some anomalies with the Hasselblad X2D, and I got a question about what would happen with the GFX 100S. My wife asked me what I was doing, and I twisted at an awkward angle so that she could see the LCD screen on the back of the camera. I lost my balance and fell backward.
I don’t remember this, but my wife says that I was unconscious for about 20 seconds, and when I came to, I knew who I was, I knew who she was, but I didn’t know the day, the year, what country I lived in, or who was the president. She called for an ambulance. In the 40 or so minutes before it arrived, I asked the same questions over and over again, and didn’t seem to understand the answers. When the EMTs arrived, I found that I couldn’t move my left leg. They got me on the gurney and took me to the local hospital.
I spent a week in the hospital, where they ruled out stroke, seizure, and a bunch of other nasty things. My left leg remained MIA. I never got a diagnosis besides concussion, but my theory is that there was a void in my brain from when I’d had a benign tumor removed in 2015, and that space let my brain slosh (that’s a medical term) around when I hit my head, severing the neural connections between my right motor cortex and my left leg.
I transferred to a skilled nursing facility, where I spent six weeks getting occupational and physical therapy. I got some function back, but I still needed a wheelchair or a walker. At the end of my time in skilled nursing, I transferred to an independent living facility with access to the services I need.
My wife and I have decided to sell our home of almost 25 years and downsize to a life care community. I’ve rented office space that I hope to be able to turn into a photographic studio. I’ve sold my sporty sedan and bought a slow, boring Honda Odyssey with sliding electric doors that I can get a walker into and out of safely. I’ve got a battery-operated wheelchair to get around the facility where I’m staying.
And I’m doing very little photography, testing or otherwise.
I think this is the end of the line for my doing photographic field work. I’m hoping to be able to do small stuff in my new studio.
Some of you may be wondering about the Hasselblad 90mm f/2.5 XCD lens that I was supposed to be testing. It arrived a few days after I fell. At the end of February, I started to do some testing, but I can’t put it through my full battery of tests. I still can’t talk about it since it’s not generally available. I don’t think that Hasselblad will be upset if I let you all know that I think it’s quite a nice lens.
Luís Filipe da Cunha says
Hi Jim, I’m so sorry to hear about what’s happening to you. I hope that despite your new limitations you continue to do what you love even if in a different model. Maybe macro at home; exploring a world “down under”.
I’m having a hernia operation tomorrow. Nothing that compares to what happened to you but, I’ll remember you.
I really appreciate all you’ve been posting and all I’ve been learning from you. Over the last few years you have become my trusted reference.
I wish you a good recovery and all the best for you and your family.
Pieter kers says
Very sorry to hear that! I hope you will recover further and we already missed your diagnostic tests that are unique.
It’s a sad news. Get well soon. Like your work very much.
Take care of you, exercise as possible and don’t lose hope! And we cross our fingers for you.
I’ll be glad to hear from you here, and look forward eagerly for your insights ; but take care of you first. 😉
Michael Klein says
OmG, so sorry to hear. Wish you a fast recovery to a smuch of your prior abilities as possible. Always enjoyed your writings and testing. Your story will make me mnore cautious as I also had a begning tumor revomed in 2016 (4cm) and there is enough space for my brain to “slosh” around. Michael
Michael Klein says
Me again. Read your story one more time and can only say how glad I am to see that you already have plans moving forward. That is so important! There are things in life that we can change, and others that we can’t. Accepting that and making plans within the limitations is key. My father in law suffered a stroke years back and never accepted that he needed a wheel chair or walker, or a cane, to walk. So he spends his time at home in misery. Keep up that spirit and hope to read new reports in your blog. Michael
Some of that may be my engineering background. There have been many times when it would have been far more convenient if the speed of light were faster, but as an engineer, my mindset was to work with what I had.
Christer Almqvist says
I am sorry that your fall was so unlucky. I have fallen three times, all when walking backwards looking at the camera display. All were hard falls but all were without long term effects.
Worst thing that _almost_ happened to me was wenn I walked backwards with the camera in the Hamburg harbour. I was centimetres from falling off the quai and into the freezing water.
A piece of advice to your readers: be careful when walking backwards looking at the camera. Or the view, or the model.
I wish you a good recovery – and please write something for us from time to time.
Bill Ferris says
Jim, I’m sorry to learn of your fall, the brain trauma, and loss of motor function and memory that resulted.
The humor in your blog post suggests that you are coping but I can’t help but feel this experience must be like having something precious stolen from you. I’m truly sorry fir what you have gone through.
I don’t know if you’ve sought out or seen a brain injury specialist. If not, I would encourage you to pursue that option. Either way, I wish you continued recovery every day.
An epic journey is accomplished one step at a time. The path to the other side of this injury will be your epic journey. I hope the other side includes more – much more – of what was lost in the fall.
Paulo Bizarro says
Jim, that was an unfortunate accident, and I wish you all the best going forward. Do not give up, maybe in the future you can recover a bit more and go back to the type of photography you enjoy the most.
Tex Andrews says
So very sorry to hear this bad news! I am hoping you will gradually get better than you are now. And of course it’s really sad to see someone with talent and taste as a photographer have their work attenuated like this. Please keep us all posted about where you land.
And very sorry you feel the need to sell your lovely home. But my wife and I are getting to that point now, with our daughters gone and successful. Our home of 41 years, which we built onto with a major addition in 2001, is now way too big, and because it’s nearly 150 y.o., a pita to keep up with—and now the addition needs a rehab after over 20 years. Not sure we want to continue to dump money in, so we are facing your decision.
I hope you feel better and gain strength daily. Getting older is not for wimps!
Best to you, Tex Andrews.
Craig Gillette says
I don’t know that we ever connected directly but have always found your inputs here and forums to be enlightening and well made. Looking forward to future postings or if you should choose to be engaged with the world in other ways, all the best in your future endeavors.
William Hutton says
I am sad to learn of your unfortunate accident.
I sincerely wish you well and hope you slowly , but surely continue to heal.
Sorry to hear what has happened to you. I’ve got some idea of the shock you must have experienced . About 2 yrs ago I developed Peripheral Neuropathy which has left me with two numb legs & I now walk like a drunk. It might not have been so bad but it took nearly 2 years to see a Neurologist because of disorganization due to the Covid crisis.
I wish you well & hope that your condition improves. I look forward to seeing some of your work on other forums.
I’m really sorry to hear that this has so significantly impacted you . I have been following your thought provoking posts here as well as running into them elsewhere when I am searching for answers.
Best of luck on improvements in your condition. Hope that we all see more of your great blogs!
Roger Bunting says
In our one-way relationship, I wish you the best possible. Your description on what you’ve been through seems sureal to me and I can’t imagine what ups and downs you’ve been through.
Thank you for sharing, how you faced this . Your description of the way you and your wife have moved to the next stages is a roadmap for weathering difficult circumstances and testament to courage for facing difficult choices.
I hope you will find a way to share again the creative approach to your discoveries and probems solving .
Wow, I’m very sorry to hear that. I wish you a complete and speedy recovery.
Your technical comments have always been among the few that I could rely on. But more than that, you’re a great photographer. I’m so happy that you have given so generously of your time and technical knowledge.
all the best for you and your wife,
greetings from Berlin (Germany)
I wish you a speedy recovery Jim.
Lance B says
Very sorry to hear of your health issue. I hope you can make a full recovery and be back to your best.
Your technical expertice and knowledge has been greatly appreciated!
Get well soon.
Lance B from DPR
Oren Grad says
Very sorry to read of your troubles. Thanks so much for all of your writing/teaching – here’s hoping that you’ll continue to improve and will be able to return to doing more of the things that you enjoy.
Paul Schefz says
So sorry to hear about your fall, all the best for your recovery!
I am sure that this unfortunate event will not stop your strong drive to research, test , analyze and report your findings.
I will wait, faitfully, to read your next essays about photograpy or neurophysiology or computer assisted walking devices.
My very best regards
All the best wih your health, and I’m sorrry to hear about your house move. Hopefully moving somewhere more useful to you and your wife’s needs will make it feel more like a positive than a negative move emotionally, or at very least provide some ‘pluses’ against the ‘minuses’.
Secondly, even if from now on you were to simply contribute from your existing knowledge and experience rather than conduct new equipment tests as well, it would still be of value.
Not to mention, you’ve already contributed a lot.
I’m a semi-pro (meaning that for part of my working time I’m under pressure to conduct photo shoots where the results are benchmarked to specialist professionals – not that easy when you have to keep up with people doing the same work full time) and I learned something of real world value to me on this site in the last hour.
So, thank you for the work you’ve already done and published, and best wishes for maximising your upcoming years. Hopefully you’ll be interested and able to continue sharing your knowledge with the photographic community in one way or another.
Claude Fiddler says
Best of luck Jim.
Jim, I hope you can recover from this as much as possible.
Just read your article about color science published on LensRentals Blog several days ago, which made me less sad in this period after knowing DPR is closing. And now this….
Actually, in a strange way, I think it’s even kinda romantic or poetic that you get injured because of photography. You are truely a man born for this. You may consider yourself more as an engineer, but I like your photography work published here too. I hope you can put more photos you are happy with online when the situation gets better.
A reader from China since 2015.
I am sorry to hear of your injuries. I think I first discovered this website when I was experience shutter shock with the A7R and over the years have followed your blog closely as you ran tests against various lenses and moved up the technology chain.
I even believe I recall at one point you mentioning being a Camera West customer, where I shop as well.
Best wishes, and thanks for the posts.
Next time you see Sean, say hi for me.
Stefan Iacob says
It took me a couple of days to write this, as this was deeply saddening.
I’m at a loss for words, please get well and please, try to enjoy as much as possible every single moment, no matter what. Part of this is actually the very essence of this potentially dying art, photography- the moment.
Thank you so much for all the solid information you have provided throughout the years.
Please continue to drop us a line, now and then.
Charles Cramer says
I’m so sorry to hear this! I’ve appreciated all the information you wrote about, even though I didn’t understand some of it. But I’ve followed your blog for a long time. And thanks for the many kindnesses you’ve done, like my show at CPA. Gratefully,
I’m a long-time reader of this blog (since 2016, and occasionally stumbled on your posts on DPReview). I have recommended them to many and appreciated and learned so much from them. Wishing you good health and the best.
Jim Baldwin says
Very best wishes Jim, and thanks for everything you have contributed to our community in the past and soon will add in the future.
Steve Hendrix says
Jim, I’m so sorry to hear of this. Life is bizarre and full of curves. I wish you the best in continuing to pursue your work.
We keep following your blog even if you only post pictures of ants on your desk without caption.
Mahdi Manesh says
Sending you my regards from Berlin, Germany. I was shocked when I read this post just now – google sent me usually directly to your X2D vs GFX100 series of articles. I recently bought an X2D and compared to the Fuji community there is not much going on on the web. Your articles are amazingly detailed and as a Software Engineer by training, I enjoyed reading them a lot.
I wish you all the best and am sure you will find a way to redefine your personal goals and hobbies.
All the best,
Warren Hatch says
Jim, So sorry to hear of your accident. I wish you all the best for a return to full health. Your writings and research have helped me learn so much about our craft. I have become a much better photographer because of your hard work and willingness to share. Thank you so much!
It leaves me speechless to read about your accident and its aftermath. Although there is nothing I can say that will make the situation better, I want to express my sincere condolences. I hope you are wrong and that one day you will be able to do again all the things that gave you so much joy.
Words really can’t express how much we owe to you or how sorry I am to learn this. I can only hope that, because you were blessed with more brains than most of us, there is still way more than you will need to make a full recovery and enjoy the rest of your long, long life with joy and happiness.
Bloody hell Jim, when you do things you certainly do them thoroughly 😉
Seriously, I hope that you will make the fullest recovery possible and be back to your old self in no time at all.
Your writings and contributions to knowledge your sharing of your findings are inspirational
Dear Jim, I’m sorry to hear this. Thank you for all thoughtful posts here and in other forums.
I wish you a good recovery!
Jim, I just read this awful news. You are a treasure; you’re one of a kind. You make the photography world better, and I delight in reading your articles and posts. I hope your health improves by the day. My best wishes to you.
Mal Paso says
From your writings your cognitive function is good and you are moving forward with life but what a curveball!
All the Best!
Shocking story — best wishes. Consider reviewing the vast history of photographic still lifes, from Man Ray through Olivia Parker, Jan Groover, and Victor Shrager. Maybe something completely new yet related to your technical work might be interesting.
Brian K says
I am sorry to hear of your injury and the life changes necessitated by it. I have always found your articles to be of great interest and highly educational. I hope that you can fully recover and get back to doing all the things that you enjoy and value.
Adam Scales says
I missed all this with the DPR drama of the past few weeks. I’m very sorry to hear this, though somewhat relieved to hear your characteristically precise, static-free, and problem-solving take on things.
Anyway, I learn a lot from your posts, and I’m glad to see you setting up that new studio. See you here, on DPR, or someplace else. Adam Scales (Adam007 on DPR)
Sorry to hear this news! Your blog has always been a great resource to me and has taught me many things. Glad to hear you’re making the most of it and still have your humor. One could say you fell doing what you love; testing cameras. Hope you continue to recover physically and are able to continue on with your passions.
Sorry to hear this Jim. Have enjoyed reading your articles and research which have helped me immensely on my journey with my Fuji 100s. Wishing you a full and rapid recovery 🙂
David Braddon-Mitchell says
I’m so sorry Jim. Your work has been a floodlight of helpful rationality in a dark environment. I trust there’ll be plenty more even if not in the field.
I am so sorry to hear about your injury. Best wishes for continued recovery.
I actually came here to applaud your recent blog posts at Lensrentals.com. The two on raw exposure are excellent, but the one on color (particularly the CIE experiments) was outstanding. I teach color space theory in my GIS and Remote Sensing course, and this blog post will become required reading in future offerings.
Jim, I hope you are recovering well. I found your blog by accident when doing research on the X2D a couple of months ago and I was impressed with all the research and data. Back in February when checking back it struck me that no new posts were available. And then today I saw this post.
I wish you and your wife all the best and hope that you will recover well and will be able to fully enjoy photography.
Erik, from Antwerp