memories of a friend come back

I recently received an email from an Australian organization, The Word, asking if they could use an image of mine on their web site. I’ve always believed the internet was a communal resource and never say no to a request for using a photograph. I assumed the request was from an account I have on stockxchange , a royalty-free image bank.

Suicide, a lithograph by ted drakeI was surprised to find the image requested was one a lithograph about Ken, a friend who committed suicide over 10 years ago. I met Ken through an AIDS organization. He’s life revolved around taking care of his partner, who suffered every imaginable condition associated with the disease. When Ken’s partner passed away, Ken felt empty and lost. What was he to do now? Everything he had known seemed to be gone.

Ken and I went to the gay-pride parade that year and marched with the AIDS Foundation float. We had a great time and spent the day at the festival and that evening at a restaurant. Ken seemed happy and proud of the care he had given his partner

Two days later, Ken shot himself to death.

I made this lithograph shortly afterwards. The loss was still fresh, the dismay palpable. I still think of you Ken. Maybe not everyday, but your memory still pops up. I hope my lithograph and your story helps someone going through similar pains.


Just remember kids… Mother knows best.

photograph by Derek Loranger of a boat and lake in Vietnam
My mother was a school teacher and she would always tell us kids: “you’re going to grow up to be a teacher like me.” Naturally, I dismissed the idea, I was going to open a pet store. 20 years later, my brother David teaches high school and coaches football, my sister Cindy teaches horticulture at a local college, and I teach photography at Palomar College. Just remember kids… Mother knows best.

I love teaching. Especially a subject like photography where the people are there because they want to learn, not because the class is a requirement. I just received this message on our photo class e-mail list and it’s one of those rewards that makes it all worth while.


I was a student of Ted’s about 2 years ago and from time to time, I like to share pictures with the list, to show that the class really can help your technique.

My latest trip was to Viet Nam. And I can say that it helps to have an interesting subject.

You can visit my site at

You will note that I use many if not all of the techniques that Ted teaches in the class.


I must say, Derek was an accomplished artist before he took my class. I just introduced him to some new composition and lens techniques and how to use the camera more effectively.

Congratulations Derek on the great photographs and trip to Vietnam.