Ed Sozinho’s Rendezvous: Dedicated to Dick & Julie Dahlgren

Jan 13, 2021
Photographer Spotlight

There’s something about being out in nature that bonds you to whomever you’re with. Something about the small things, the squirrel that gets a little too invested in your snacks, the ventures to the nearest waterfall or hiking trail, the drama of burnt smores, or the bear breaking into your trash can. 

A few good friends made such a bond and became fly-fishing legends with decades-long traditions. Seattle, Washington-based photographer and director Ed Sozinho, one of these friends, decided to document this tradition in honor of the late Dick Dahlgren, an original member of the Rendezvous crew.

Ed Sozhino Rendezvous Fly Fusion magazine Stimmie award

In all of his work, Ed aims to transport the viewer straight into the action. His short film, Rendezvous, does just that, plopping the viewer into the middle of a river and welcoming them into a tight community, one that meets each year in Idaho at Bar 4D. The Rendezvous started in 1985 as a small group of friends meeting to catch up and catch some fish in the eastern Sierras. In 1989 Dick organized a much larger meeting on the Green River in Utah. Then, after Dick’s retirement, he and his wife built Bar 4D, a few cabins by the Big Lost River in Idaho. In 2001, Ed joined the Rendezvous and never looked back.

Rendezvous1080p from Sozinho Imagery on Vimeo.

I had heard about these amazing Rendezvous from my friend Leland for years, and I felt honored to be included in such a fantastic group of anglers.  It was kind of like being invited to the Jedi council.

Through his friend Leland Miyawaki, Ed scored an invite and became a part of the tradition. Having been involved in the fly-fishing community in Seattle for years, Ed felt that Bar 4D was an excellent place to fish, eat, and relax with like-minded individuals.

Fly-fisherman and -women are typically good people that are giving and honest. If you are not those things, you aren’t invited back. I think that reinforcement of good values built incredibly strong friendships.

One of these people was Dick Dahlgren, who passed away in 2019. According to Dick’s friends, he was always a legend. He was a founding member of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol and a part of the forest fire crew in the Sierras. He sailed boats for clients to and from Hawaii. He sued L.A. County over water rights and won. He was an artist, an author, and much more. Affectionally dubbed Hoover, Dick’s life was full of adventure and stories perfect for telling around a fire.

I knew there was an immense amount of Dick’s life that I would not be able to cover. I used fly fishing as the connecting thread for friendship, respect, and the emotion of losing someone — all universal topics that people who have never fly-fished in their lives can connect.

After Dick’s passing, Ed wanted to document the following Rendezvous in memoriam. It’s storytelling at its finest, but more than that, Ed paid tribute and shared with the world the legend of Dick Dahlgren.

He would casually fish behind you as you worked your way through a hole. Then he’d find the 2, 3, or a dozen fish you missed, all bigger than yours, and would say, “I think you missed this one.” 

Ed and Leland worked through the story concept, centered on Dick’s impact upon the group. Leland narrated while Ed shot the entire film solo throughout their 5-day Rendezvous in early March, running the video, audio, production, staging, and coffee-making himself. The Silver Medal the film received in the IF4 Stimmies Awards (an international fly-fishing film festival) was well-deserved.

In general, Fly-fishing films are based on the stoke of the [famous skiing filmmaker] Warren Miller template (beautiful b-roll footage with a lot of stoke thrown in, edited to loud music).  I reacted to that genre and wanted to create something more meaningful, quiet, and something that would push me creatively.

Ed pulled together the old and new imagery and video seamlessly, taking to YouTube to fill in any educational gaps that revealed themselves in the animation of old photographs. The result is quiet and genuinely touching. Idaho’s stunning backdrop fits beautifully with the piece’s overall concept, especially when Ed describes it.

As many things in the natural world continue to degrade and become a shadow of what once was, this place in Idaho still holds magic – and beautiful fish. 

Dick is gone from this earth, but there, in Idaho, on the Big Lost, in Bar 4D, the magic of Dick and of the Rendezvous still remains, leaving it almost holy ground.

Get out into nature, do something meaningful to you, do something you will never be able to master, something that continues to push you. Find your tribe early in life and stay with them; the history you create will only mean more the older you get. 

Credits:
Co-Writer: Leland Miyawaki
Narrator: Leland Miyawaki
Co-Editor: Sierra Sozhino

See more of Ed's work at sozinhoimagery.com.

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