Jules and I staged some shots against cousin Vicki’s Japanese maple. I got to hold Nellie. We did random sessions like this. I used a DSLR, which was too heavy for selfies. Undoubtedly that is what I would have staged now. Yes there is an iPhone and a point and shoot handy for the shot. And no, Photoshop post processing is not an alternative in this case.
By agreement I refer to Jules by the nickname her friends use. Too many of her students stalked her name searching the web. She thought it was weird. I guess I agree. But here we are again, another birthday. She always had a celebration that began at the end of the school year with her classmates. This was well before August. Then, the excuse was everyone would be on summer vacation. Then, we were on vacation, the Tyler Place. This called for a second celebration, cake, party, the whole works. And then there was the extended family of cousins, and grandparents at home. And on her actual birthday we had a family celebration. So it became a summer long party. For a kid who seemed deprived because of her August birthday, Jules would be about 100 by now if each party counted. And for the birthday wish, I wish her happiness. I think she is. Happy birthday kid.
I’ve been to the restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. Restaurants being what they are it was not too difficult to get a reservation as long as it was done in advance. I need not mention it no longer exists. This occasion was for my thirtieth birthday and Lisa sprang the surprise. I don’t have a shot of the view. It is of course why you go there. What’s in my archive are several pictures of how we looked a lot of years ago. No I wouldn’t embarrass Lisa with mention of age. Suffice it to say that these pictures were at the same age as my kids are now.
John and Eric, well, we were all pretty young. I was there at the restaurant on a couple other occasions once for a significant birthday for my neurosurgery chairman Joe Ransahoff. Of course there’s no going back. The restaurant was lost forever on 9/11. My kids never ate here. But they did once come to the top when the Frary’s visited.
Scotland again. Before they were called selfies, here’s one we did. I was not shy to use a mirror. The only thing was that the result wouldn’t be known for quite some time. There were no retakes. At most I might shoot two frames. This was the better of the two and barely passable on technical merit. But it reflects the time and place. Another shot from the archives that I bet Lisa hasn’t seen or remembers. I look back at the early work. Film was pretty restrictive and unforgiving. But there were enough shots that came out to make for some great memories.
I’ve been there and you could guess it was many years ago. There are restrictions and tickets necessary to visit now. Somebody made a pile of rocks. Yes, it’s a mystery. And of my shots, the ones (2) that counted had Lisa in them. As I have said there are many images one can find of monuments. What makes them different is the people in the image. You go places. And you take a picture and that picture is mine. It makes all the difference that I took it. But I’d do things differently now.
I would have done more but then I overdid it. Make sense? Lisa wasn’t a great photographic subject. She suffered my enthusiasm and didn’t want to be a subject at all. I wanted to shoot and shoot. Nope. Here and there I have some pretty nice images. She’d disagree. I don’t know. I married her and had my own cockeyed opinion of how well she looked. To say she’s beautiful she would accuse me of unbridled bias.
Once upon a time we did road trips in Europe. We’d rent a car and drive from one place to another with a general plan but no reservations. We would pull into a city and hit the tourist info center for a hotel reservation. It worked pretty well. There was a place in Antwerp where a number of roaches marched around the twelve foot high ceilings. I received a can of bug spray by way of my complaint to the manager. We never unpacked and he graciously handed back our money. In Belgium (no names to protect the innocent) we had secured a reservation and were headed across town to find the place. Stopped at a railroad crossing, I idly noticed this hotel. At my urging Lisa entered and asked about rooms and prices. She came back with a price of about $20 when the currency was converted. I said, impossible and sent her back to be sure. She not only confirmed but had also looked at a couple rooms. It seems the rooms were mostly open and available to view. Well, it couldn’t have been nicer than the one we were headed. The price was too good to be true. I remember mirrored ceiling but maybe it was the bathroom. The next morning we asked about staying for an extra night. The desk clerk ascertained that we would be out all day touring and then she agreed. Later that day Lisa had a small issue and needed a change of clothes. When we entered the lobby, the startled clerk explained we couldn’t enter the room. It was in use. Because of the train station next door folks used the rooms during the days to rest before continuing their journey. Lisa used the restroom and I noticed a beaded curtain and a couple emerged holding cocktails. My suspicion was reinforced by the parking lot full of cars. The lot was empty again in the evening. You do the math. And for the second night it appeared that we were the only guests again. Years later and armed with my story and picture, grandma and grandpa tried to get a room. No dice. I figure, they figured we were just a couple poor Americans kids and they took pity and let us stay a couple nights.
Progress occurs and before you know it your photo is historic. Sure we’re older. But that’s a portable phone in my hand. The hardline phone no longer restricted movement around the home. And then cellphones became commonplace. My kids don’t even have a hard wire phone in their homes. We still have a portable phone somewhere about. Why bother, the cellphone service has replaced the technology. Records, CD’s, DVD’s …
I wish I was smarter but hindsight …. I took lots of pictures when we were on vacation. It was to document the sights and monuments. When we traveled in England I got a lot of churches. Somewhere along the way, I realized it didn’t matter how many churches I’d been in and photographed. The pictures that count are the ones of family and friends. The complication begins where Lisa was never happy with her pictures. She would see the flaws rather than the love. So I took plenty of pictures but it was with reluctance on her part. She did have perfect teeth, no orthodontics, just great genes. I was the polar opposite having had dental problems from a very early age. Opposites attract? You get two types of pictures. Pictures with loved ones too small to make out any detail and then there are the close up portrait type. With digital you have the memory card capacity to do both. With film you were a lot more parsimonious. Sure I’d do it differently now.
We spent a bit of time in the Berkshires. This was a Shaker farm. The kids had some very pleasant fall outings. We rode bikes around. The kids raked leaves. We looked for a second home here. Real estate price being what they were, we bid on a couple places and eventually but too late the bids were accepted. We changed directions and looked on Long Island.This is the round barn at the Shaker village.