Year of Thanks — 2012

The personal project this year has taken on a bit of a different flavor. It started with a conversation with Kira in bed. We're both turning 40 this year and she's already got a plan to ride her bike from Portland to Napa in the spring, so she's been training for months.

My usual birthday event is as follows: plan for 2-3 movies, alone; eat crap, regret it; return home for birthday dinner of Manwiches and tater tots with my wife and fantastic children. That's right, it's the dream birthday of a 4th grader.

This year, maybe influenced by Kira's grandiosity, I started thinking about how to celebrate my own big day a little differently. I thought about shoehorning in a fourth movie. I thought about cajun tater tots. Those were nice, but they didn't really strike the right chord. 

I believe that I am who I am because of the grace, kindness, criticism, and expertise of those around me. I say that a lot. To people. About other people. And therein lies the problem—living with gratitude is nothing if not expressed directly, personally, and immediately.

This year, it's time to make good. So, I'm taking the year to collect the most important relationships in my life the best way I know how—in photos—and use the opportunity to share my thanks for the role each individual has served in my life; as a mentor, teacher, friend, client, or family. My goal is to bring closeness, to rekindle some old relationships and launch a few new ones. I can only hope that by highlighting the impact that so many people have had on me, I can do so similarly for those in my own sphere. 

I've started a running list of characters in the sidebar on the right. The names listed are folks that I've managed to connect with so far, but the list is by no means finished. I kicked off this journey with a 4,500 mile trip around the west on August 27. Here's hoping for many more thanks, and a boatload of photos by this time next year. 

The List

Veronica Belmont
Joe Cockrell
Jason Howell
Richard Jaussi
Chad Johnson
Brad & Nikki Kinzer
Leo Laporte
Don Mappin
Tom Merritt
Tom Metz
Andy Nelson
Ben Peters
Jim Peters
Maia Peters
Curt Siffert
Ted Strand
Chadd Stoops
Gina Trapani
Edythe Taylor


This poem in the folksong 乐府 style evokes the sensory pleasures of childhood and the seasons through which these classmates have journeyed to fifth grade. The last lines foretell their upcoming Capstone trip, and also the new paths they will take when they part ways come spring. 

今晓日兼雨  Today at dawn, there was sun along with rain,
土芳当脚脏  The earth is fragrant, and it’s fitting that my feet are dirty.
故乡隔天末  My hometown lies beyond the edge of the sky,
异客应爽心  The foreigner should have a cheerful heart.


Photography, art and set direction:  Pete Wright
Calligraphy: Yin Ping Tong
Poem selection, art direction, talent wrangling: Heather Clydesdale
Art and Set Direction, Talent Wrangling: Kira Wright
Fountain of Patience: Hong Shentu
Hand Models: Chinese Fifth graders

Sun and Rain is a three-panel triptych prepared on a unique acryllic mount. There are no frames, allowing these precious hands to simply float together on your wall. 

Sun and Rain was originally offered for auction to support The International School fundraising. The school is no longer making the series available for order. 

Each individual panel is 15" x 10"; finished hanging size approximately 15" x 32" if hung in portrait orientation, or 47" x 10" if hung landscape.