Watching the news from Egypt has brought back memories of David Maltby. The following is what I wrote for his memorial. It appeared in Xtra.
David Barker Maltby (November 12, 1962 – May 17, 2001), a Toronto photographer and activist, died in May of meningitis at the age of 38.
THOUGHTS ON THE LIFE OF DAVID MALTBY
By Brian Burch
David is no longer with us and I feel diminished. Yet, I have no strong memory of him — only of his motions among us.
David was the presence, the calm in the eye of the storm that observed us. He stood with a camera, unmoving while police and protestors blended together — he was the constant; we were the forces in transition.
David was the different one among us. He was the gentle in “Gentle, Angry People”. We were the perpetually angry ones, motivated by rage. David was the outsider, motivated by love.
David was the liberator, freeing us from the bugs in amber image we all too often mould around ourselves. In photographs and words, David made our experiences into a widening spiral, opening up all the possibilities of our movements through time.
David was the clown to our mime, pulling joy from the least opportunity, splashing the sombre with fountain sprays. He would not let anyone avoid the consequences of self-indulgence, pulling us into the surf and pelting us with lilacs.
David was the revolutionary to our dissent, hearing Emma Goldman’s “If I can’t dance, its not my revolution” when process became key. Where we build frames he blended images, and where we learned rigidity he learned from the wind.