The great writer (and filmmaker and chef and blogger and general bon vivant) Nora Ephron passed away on Tuesday night, so it seemed fitting to spend yesterday afternoon photographing two of my favorite people, Josh Goldfaden and Jennifer Chapis. Why? Well, one reason is that, like Ephron, they’re both writers (we met our first year of graduate school in creative writing) who work in many genres: poetry, prose, film. The other is that their love story has what I’ll call Ephronesque elements: For one reason or another (i.e., other relationships) they were friends for a long time, and then one day they weren’t. They’ve been together ever since.
What always made Ephron’s work so compelling to me was her special blend of honesty and humor. She didn’t pretend that human frailty or selfishness or lack of perspective don’t exist, she just joked about them in a way that said, hey, look, this happens to all of us, we might as well laugh about it. Which is a great thing. Getting someone to laugh at their less-than-desirable qualities is no easy task–the chance of insult is high. But somehow, Ephron always seemed to side-step injury in a way that was graceful and sympathetic. She spoke the truth in a way that we could hear it. And that’s a gift.
Ephron will be missed. She was a tough, talented woman who managed to live well (friends, cooking, husband, children) and still have the career that she wanted. She’s definitely an example to me–if I can live half as well as she did, I know I’ll have an absolutely fantastic life.
Click here for scenes from some Nora Ephron films.