Monday, 30 May 2011

For Adrian Sole, RIP my friend

It's absolutely heartbreaking for me to write that my good friend and photographer, Adrian Sole passed away the morning of Friday 20th May aged 45, after a long battle with throat cancer.
Perhaps he was not that well known to most; he was a modest guy, a modest photographer, fond of entering the net-model competition of the day - he just loved to take pictures of people having fun, people with interesting characters, he just loved people in general. Ady was a guy with a truly unique capacity to generate friendship in everyone he met.

Reading through all the touching tributes on his facebook page, I can't help tears rolling down my cheeks. I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I know he would not have wanted that.

"To me you were a true inspiration from the day you were diagnosed right up until the last moment you drew breath, your attitude and determination to not let this awful illness ruin your life was breathtaking, i truly believe that u believed you were invincible, and this meant that you were able to live your life and do the things you wanted to do." - Alison

My heart goes out to Alison and their two little girls, also his four older children, one of whom I met.

I'm sorry if this sounds overly emotional and you're wondering why I care that much, but I have never in my life met anyone so determined to get on with theirs as if nothing was wrong, when in reality, everything's falling apart. Adrian casually mentioned he had terminal cancer one day (October last year) in his car as he picked me up for a shoot as if he was telling me what he was going to have for dinner that night. I was shocked, I didn't really know how to take it but his outlook on life remained more positive than most of those without a care in the world.
I'm sure many of you might tell me I'm naive, but I truly believed he wouldn't die. When positive thinking can heal so many things in your soul, Ady should have made it. Life is so cruel.
He had so many plans - he talked about the future, we were sat in a little cafe having brekkie before a shoot when he chatted about the book he was writing to help inspire people to think ahead no matter what, he talked about how things were picking up with his photography, something he loved doing most.
Being a countryman at heart, he was so excited to be asked to shoot a calendar for a well-established hunting website this June and had me and several other models lined up for the event.
His mind was never short of ideas and although we managed several shoots, we still had several specific ideas lined up.
The last time I saw him was at the last Farnham social where he brought his son, Ryan along - we chatted as usual - he got on with everyone. When Ady found out I was in a bit of a spot financially, he was the first person to bail me out, saying it was only him paying me early for our next shoot.
I am devastated we never got to have that 'next shoot' and now I have £150 that is not mine.
I feel terrible guilt that this situation ever arose. I don't know how I should contact his family and tell them, or use the money to have some sort of memorial set up in his name - maybe a bench in Old Portsmouth where we once did a shoot, overlooking the sea.
I have more guilt in that the last contact he made with me was a text, asking if I had another model, Victoria Summers' email address.
It's such a simple mistake to make - reading the text and thinking "I'll text back later." I have never been brilliant with messages at the best of times but I have learnt a horrible lesson. I wasn't to know that would be the last time I ever heard from him. And I never replied.

I'd loved to have just said goodbye. He never liked or wanted to talk about how bad it really was, he always dismissed his illness, saying "everything will be all right" - so you never really knew how bad he was. Even with a swollen neck, which he even made jokes about, pain from the tubes that had been inserted, tired from all the drugs.. he'd still come out for an evening of socialising; he'd always have a smile on his face, always chatter on excitedly about life and he was the first person to offer a helping hand.
We went to the beach, round the historic dockyard, he took some candids of me in a beach-side cafe, had a giggle when he spontaneously asked to borrow a random lady's three dogs for an awesome fashion shoot, (it made me SO pleased to see how thrilled he was with those results) he came round mine for chats & a cuppa, fixed my computer, bought me dinner after yet another shoot, I laughed at him because he never took off his hat - he also came to my birthday party in February (which was sort of half party, half networking event in Fareham) and to my delight & surprise he'd bought me a little lotions & perfume set from Next, which I still use now. And all I feel is though I've let him down.

The Vanguard, my birthday party - Feb 2011

His thoughtful little gestures will stay with me for the rest of my days. I am not only honoured to have been a very small part of his short life, but also amazed at how someone can influence and become so dear to me in such a short space of time. He was such a modest and charming man with a big heart. I don't think he even realised the effect he had on people.
He often said his photography and thoughts were "silly really" and "rubbish really" and I always told him off for putting himself down! I used to laugh when he mentioned net-model's competition of the day and told him that the critiques were supposed to be rude in a funny way and that no harm was meant by it!

I'd do anything to give him a hug right now and tell him everything's going to be all right, just like he always did for me when I'd express concern about him.
I hope he's found peace now but I'm sure I will miss him loads.
He was a brave, brave man and strong as a rock. And I only hope a little bit of Ady can live on in us all.

Ade, you were one in a million x


Here are a few images we created in the short space of time we knew each other:

Gosport, Hampshire - Nov 2010

Bayside Cabin cafe, Stokes Bay and Alverbank Hotel, Gosport, Hampshire - Nov 2010

Alverbank Hotel, Gosport, Hampshire - Nov 2010

Old Portsmouth, Hampshire - Feb 2011

Old Portsmouth, Hampshire - Feb 2011

Between Old Portsmouth and Southsea seafront, Hampshire - Feb 2011


* I apologise if you knew Adrian and you didn't know what had happened until reading this post. I just wanted people to know what a wonderful inspiration he really was.


  1. He sounds like an absolute diamond xxx

  2. This is very nice, I am Adrians oldest daughter and i agree with your idea on putting up a memorial bench, my dad was such a great person and he will never be forgotten. He was loved by so many people... Thankyou for all of the lovely comments you have said about my Dad xx