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Remembering Manny: Photographer recalls virtuoso's love for others, humble presence
Emanuel "Manny" Vardi, who passed away January 29, was a gift to us all: an international legend in music as well as art.
I have had the most amazing experience getting to know this brilliant and gentle man, all the more as I photographed him working happily for those many months on what would be his last painting.
I so respected him. I loved getting him to smile naturally so that his bright eyes twinkled playfully for the camera. We spent hours some days speaking about our respective life experiences as we both cared what the other thought, and respected each other as artists, as human beings. He wasn't about ego, for he truly loved people. His humility was extraordinary. He was "Manny."
I found him to be the most endearing presence, certainly one of the kindest, positive-minded men I have ever known. As we grew to know each other, I was able to bring friends of all ages over to his home to meet with him. He was always thrilled to meet his neighbors.
I was invited to his 95th birthday party this past summer and stood in their home amongst friends as our Manny was celebrated with the most beautiful viola rendition of "Happy Birthday," played by his lovely bride for over thirty years, Lenore. Honored, privileged as I have always felt to be allowed into his world and Lenore's, it is with great sadness that the world says goodbye to our sensational Manny. He was your neighbor here in the Snoqualmie Valley. The most beautiful place in the world to me,visually, made all the more special because of the human experience of its people. He forever will be held in my heart.