Either you have passion for something or you don't. There is simply no in-between.
For me, my passion has always been track & field and running. Ever since I first started competing as a high school athlete at Cumberland High in the late 1970s, it has been my passion. It's something that will never go away.
For MileSplit RI photographer and my good friend, Raphael Bieber, his passion was always his camera and the magic he could do with it. His passion was capturing the spirit of his subjects the best way he knew how. It was something he often did well.
Raphael has been my right-hand man, my ace photographer at MileSplit RI, the past four years. I estimate we covered between 50-75 meets together during that span. While I was out there trying to hustle down athletes for interviews or perched atop the folded-up stands at the PCTA field house videoing the races, it was Raphael capturing all the action with his long lens in hand.
It wasn't just the motion of the athletes that caught Raphael's eye. For him, it was the joy on their faces, their love for the sport, that sparked his interest.The one thing that I feel distinguished Raphael from most photographers was when he was at a sporting event, particularly a track or cross-country meet, I firmly believe he enjoyed his subjects, the people whose images he captured, just as much as his craft. Often I would catch Raphael showing the athletes the photos he just took of them. He would do it not to boast about his work, it was clear by the expression on his face that he wanted his subjects to feel good about themselves and what they had just accomplished, no matter how big or small it was.
I will miss all that and I'm sure the MileSplit community will too.
Unfortunately, we lost Raphael this past week. He passed away unexpectedly at his Pawtucket apartment at the age of 59. You will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace, my good friend.