Coffee Pods.

Call this “Coffee Pods III.”

I was emptying the little bin in the espresso maker when my phone pinged. The Associated Press was telling me that Aretha Franklin just passed.

I never knew her. I photographed her once. In the days of black and white film processed in a newspaper’s wet darkroom for publication the next day. I have the negatives. But, I’d have to root through a very rudimentary file system. Then, I’d have to scan them and retouch them and, and, and… you wouldn’t see them for weeks.

In that moment, I decided to make a new series of images that are completely controlled by external sources. For now, let’s just call them, “What were you doing when you heard?” Sure, this picture is also the third in a series of artistic coffee pods.


Aretha died of pancreatic cancer. Another one with the “Big C.” She was fairly private about it. I liked something Marianne Williamson, the spiritual guru and seller of motivational things, said about the first night that we heard Aretha was coming to the end of her road. She said something like, the whole world was praying and it was a sacred night.

It was. In the midst of all this disruption, meanness and polarization, people all around the world said a little prayer for her. You know that I’m not the most religious person on the planet, but I’m pretty sure we could use more prayers and less arguing.

The picture. It’s less than three hours old. I made it. I worked on it. It is here.

In New Orleans we would sing two songs for Aretha. “Golden Crown” which would open like this, “Aretha Franklin got a golden crown… And, “I’ll Fly Away.”

Fly away Aretha. Rest in peace. Say hello to all the rest of the musicians that I miss. Thanks for all of your music.



8 responses to “Respect”

  1. Sharon E. Cathcart Avatar

    Beautiful tribute, Ray. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      Thank you. Sometimes, it just sorta of happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. gregorystackpole Avatar

    I like this idea of this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      It’ll be accidental at best.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Debra Avatar

    It was a fascinating day to hear many of the radio voices I listen to interrupt their regular political analysis and local programming to simply reflect on what Aretha had gifted us with all these years. I agree that her departure brought us together in pause and reflection. It’s been a while since the chatter stopped for a day.

    And…I totally love this photo. Not just because it’s a unique photo subject, but the result is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      Yes. I was that kind of day. It slowed us down and helped to put things in perspective. And, around here we listened to Aretha all day. We just put on Spotify and let it go. There were some deep cuts that for any other musician would have been their highlight. Not for her.

      Thank you. One of my accidental seeing pictures.


  4. importiralatpanahan Avatar

    i love this

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: