I met Andre at a CERI Christmas party many years ago. It was at a dinner theatre near the Blackfoot Inn.
Tara, my partner, and I arrived on the late side, and most of the tables were already full. We ended up sharing a table with Andre and his partner. The conversation was fantastic! It was all over the map, changing gears as if we’d known each other for years.
The following Christmas, we hoped we sat with Andre again. And we did. Again, we shared a great night!
His humour (dark), wit, passion and charm were infectious.
Why wait for Christmas and we met more often. Every time we met; it was a fascinating mind-expanding chat. Photography, travel, politics, science…life. The subject didn’t matter. Though, his photographic work with composition and deep understanding of light inspired me. Andre sees the world in a beautiful and unique way.
After coming home from my meeting with Andre, Tara would always ask, “How’s Andre?” I replied, “Great. Did you know Andre was a stuntman?” Next visit, “Did you know Andre owned a Hasselblad and was a professional photographer?” Next visit, “Did you know Andre cycled to [enter location]?” And so on.
But it’s more than that. There are many Andres and that is Andre. There’s a deep wisdom in that—to not be defined by one thing but by many things. And having the courage and passion to do so. The term ‘renaissance man’ gets thrown around too often. But Andre is a renaissance man, a combination of the creative and technical.
When Andre told me of his decision, I listened. My mind raced with questions, but I just listened. Eventually I asked, “Is there something on your bucket list you haven’t done?”
“I’m going to see Waterton Lakes one more time,” he replied after humming and hawing.
“That’ll be nice.” I paused, “but how about something you haven’t done?”
“Nope.” His reply was quick.
“Do you want to think about—?”
“Nope,” he cut me off with a snicker.
I had to smile. That’s the wisdom (and the brilliant decision-making) of the many Andres.