I woke up Sunday and was just lounging around the house when I noticed the statement from BHE about Wu of Wu's Feetlinks passing away. It read:
"It is with deep sorrow that we must inform you of the death of the original Wu, Alex F. Alex and BHE have been partners in producing and hosting Wusfeetlinks.com for more than 15 years. We pledge to continue to maintain the high standards set by Alex." - BHE
I was stunned and saddened by the news. Needless to say, I spent the entire day interacting with people on the Wu's Feetlinks Forum, through email, and other social media outlets. I wrote a blog titled, "Rest in Peace - Wu of Wu's Feetlinks," to give my initial reactions as I just wanted to publicly say how amazing the man was.
In a strange way it is almost fitting that the first model I shoot after learning this news is none other than the first model I ever shot and one Wu was instantly in love with - Abby. He loved her way before Soles of Silk was even a thought in my mind. Without going deep into our history, Abby and I dated for a few years in college and is the biggest reason I do this today. She interacted with Wu several times over the years, even being the subject of one of his interviews. So going out with Abby today was kind of settling, to be honest. She's one of the few models I have who knew Wu. Most have heard of him, or know him as the guy who owned the site they did a feature set for. Abby, however, actually exchanged emails with him and at one time, was posting to the forums too. So we talked for some time.
Our initial plans for the day were to do a set, maybe two, and then meet up with Kelsey so they could do one together. Kelsey wasn't 100 percent sure she'd be able to make it out, so we told her to let us know. Not having heard from her by that point, we began just in case she'd be ready soon.
Abby and I found a quiet spot along a river and decided to shoot on some of the piers and a boat launch. Of course the quiet space would cease to exist almost immediately as we were set to begin. A loud woman, whose voice reminded me of Mama Fratelli from the "Goonies," brought three large dogs down around us. She then proceeded to yell at them like she was five years old over fetching sticks. She finally left after maybe 10 minutes and we were finally able to begin.
We kept this set simple. Blue jeans, a fun graphic t-shirt, and bare feet. Barefoot girls in blue jeans is always a popular request, so that's what we went with.
After about 20 or so photos a truck came down to the boat ramp and parked. We looked over and saw a guy sitting inside doing nothing. We waited a few minutes, but he just sat there. I used Mindee's famous line, "We'll never see him again. Who cares?" With that, we went back to shooting.
Once we got in enough photos for the set we sat around and just talked about life some more. Wu came up a few more times and I showed her some of what has been posted elsewhere about him. That's also when I showed her the Wu Tribute Ribbon I'm putting on all my photo's watermarks and at various places around the site. She liked the idea. You can see it on Abby's photo above - the first place it's been used thus far and I'm glad it was on one of Abby's photos for all the reasons stated above.
At that point Kelsey said it wasn't looking like she was going to be able to shoot any time soon, so Abby and I just wrapped it up. Abby scuffed her polish and decided it was probably better that we just shoot more on another day. I agreed and we headed back to her place so I could drop her off.
Kelsey ended up not being able to shoot at all today. I had hoped she might be able to do some this evening, but to no avail. She's looking to squeeze something in sometime soon, however. It would have been nice to see her and Abby together once again. They did a fun tickling set way back in 2006 that people loved (Sample 01 / Sample 02). I do know one thing, you'd be hard pressed to find two sets of softer soles to put in a set together! Oh well, sooner or later we will get to do it again.