Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RIP Gary Gygax

It's been about a week now so most of the sound and fury has passed over. The day after Gygax died, most of the major news outlets covered his death -- this should stand as a testament of his impact. I note his death because more than any other celebrity or famous figure who has died in the recent past, Gary's death resonated on a deep level for me.

I've never met the man. Never been anywhere near close. I haven't followed all of his work. Yet for some strange, inexplicable reason, I feel as if a portion of my childhood has disappeared. I recognize that there has been some controversy about his legacy -- that Dave Arneson has claimed the moniker of "father of role playing". Ultimately, I suspect that neither man can truly make the claim -- by all accounts, there was a nascent movement interested in the style of gaming both men pioneered and while their actions catalyzed the movement, they by no means invented it. But E. Gary Gygax ultimately was the force that gathered together most of the disparate strands of the movement into something that pushed itself into the consciousness of the mainstream albeit not always in the most positive light.

Moreover, for an eleven year-old boy, RPGs were the precipating force behind catapulting one fevered imagination into realms beyond. I suppose this is what makes this tribute relevant to my evolution as a photographer -- that in the back of my mind, much of the source of my mental imagery still remains largely in that realm. Sometimes those images explode into explicit manifestation. But more likely, it's in the subtle composition and image choices that the beyond finds its way out. In fact the RPGs were also a rich fount of visual imagery and often what I love to look at remains firmly rooted in fantasy and science fiction (which explains a passing addiction I had to this site).

So to Gary Gygax, I salute you for the impact you've had on my artistic vision and my world view. Godspeed to you into the next plane.

No comments: