Today I am mourning the loss of George Miller, a man I met on the internet.
Used to be, when we first moved up to the Ranch, Dave would go to the Bay Area to work three or four days a week. Sometimes, when the nights were long, I would browse around on the internet, jotting down apartment rentals in Paris, or stone cottages to let in San Vito lo Capo, Sicily—you know, basically dreaming on line, imagining a time when Dave was really retired and we could live here AND travel the world.
More often than not, I would find myself listing back towards Mexico, reading blogs like David Lida’s or Jim Johnston’s, looking at pictures of Oaxaca or San Miguel del Allende, even browsing Sotheby’s international real estate, just imagining lives other than my own. I like my life just the way it is, but I’m always curious about lives different than my own— why I write, I guess.
And that’s how I met George.
One of the browsing spots I visit on my internet tours is a wonderful on-line newspaper for expats called Inside Mexico. There I can always find lively interviews with artists, with people who are fixing up villas in the Roma, with glamorous matrons who live in exquisite homes in San Miguel, and in this case, with the photographer George Miller.
The Museo Archivo de Fotografia was having a big exhibit of Miller’s photographs and the front page of Inside Mexico featured an interview with him along with a photo— Camino a Torreon
I fell in love . . . with the photograph.
When Dave came home, I clicked on the computer and said, “You’ve got to see this. This photographer gets it, how dramatic and mysterious Mexico is. This is exactly what it was like—that first road trip!”
Seemed like every time Dave came into my office, I was staring at the photograph. In my mind, I was driving down that road in a sixties Buick the size of an ocean-liner, wind in my hair. Coming from the kudzu-covered south, I’d never seen such space, such sky!
“Why don’t you just write the museum and see if you can buy a print.”
I told him it was hopeless, that it was an old article, that no one would write me back.
“You could try,” Dave said. “Can’t hurt.”
So I did. And the next day, I received a reply.
And now I have a print of the photograph.
How I got it, how I met the Millers in Oaxaca, THAT story is my NEXT blog.
Now I just want to remember George Miller, who passed away a few days ago, a D-Day Purple Heart Vet, who used his GI Bill to study Spanish. When he got a job as a salesman in Mexico for an American company, he bought a camera and a car, and on the drive from Kansas to Mexico City down the Pan-American Highway, he began his life-long work documenting Mexico—a Mexico that now no longer exists.
Except maybe in the photographs of George Miller.
photo by Frances Miller
You can still find the Inside Mexico article by Shauna Leff on George Miller. Take a look.