Talent is often spoken of in the abstract. It is a term used to describe the enigmatic force that sets the architects of art apart from the spectators. I am honored to know talent embodied.
Marlene is my co-conspirator in wanderlust. When we first met, we were both starting out in the working world, unable to afford the many whims of our imaginations. We would message each other with full travel plans to Cuba, Brazil, and South Africa. We would travel the world over in our cubicles. While I thought these were just fun distractions, Marlene fully intended to swing her camera strap over her shoulder and take off to capture the beauty that most of us are often too busy, or too blind to see. Every Monday after work, we would meet with fellow plotter Estacy to plan our futures and check each other’s progress. No goal was too high.
Marlene’s dreams for others were often bigger than what they could ever imagine for themselves. It was common for me to tell her what I wanted to do, and for her to respond, “Pfft, you will.” And I believed her. I believed her because of how easy she made her endless hours of hard work look. That infectious smile and refusal to “sit still,” took her all the way to Hong Kong to further pursue her art from behind the lens. I followed her adventure through her blog and our mistimed Gchat messages (we never got that time difference thing right).
Her camera is her voice, and she continues to speak to us through her pictures — those raw snapshots that make the mundane seem magical, those images of love frozen at its sweetest, those depictions that make dreams seem reachable.
We will love you always, amiguita.