My career began as an Art Director, in advertising, mostly working on beauty accounts. At my first ad agency job, I was partnered with a very talented writer, Bill. We were a team, and became very close friends. During our professional partnership I collected art books as inspiration for each assignment we were given. One year, as a gift, Bill surprised me with a hand-embosser to use on the first page of my books, marking its ownership. It read “Library of John Mark Dixon, JMD”. It was a thoughtful and elegant gesture.

After working together for 5 years, Bill announced he wanted to pursue a dream; Open a flower business, which he had cleverly named “Billy Buds.” Sadly, life had other plans for Bill. Shortly thereafter, he became ill. He was in his early 30s, successful and seemingly healthy. I expected him to recover, return to work and fulfill that dream. But, one evening, Bill’s boyfriend called with the heart-breaking news that Bill had died.


In the fall of 2017, I enthusiastically left the world of advertising. I gathered some knowledge of photography over the years, and I’m still a good Art Director. I picked up a camera. I started with vegetables, an onion to be precise, then anything I could find in the refrigerator. Flowers became my preference. After a year, there were some images worthy of printing.

Rather than signing my photographic prints, I’ve chosen to emboss them with my gift from Bill. Over a period of 30 years, moving with me from job to job, apartment to house, city to country, this hand-embosser has remained in my possession. Its subtle impression is in memory of a gifted man who loved flowers, long before I had an appreciation for them.

My gift from Bill.

My gift from Bill.