I went through a big photographic journey starting in 2009, which coincided with my kids’ journeys. Lisa and I were invited to wedding in Peru. Lisa decided to invite the kids along but not to the wedding. David had graduated and had not found a job in about a year at home. Julia and David were soon added to the wedding guests. And then David dropped his bomb. He would stay in South America, travel around, and then find a job in Argentina. Lisa nearly fainted with the news. I wasn’t sure he’d last there. And besides there are bandits and they kidnap Americans. Ha ha! It was nerve wracking when we left David in Lima and left to return to New York. Within a year Julia was on her African adventure teaching in Namibia for a year. I like to say that my kids were not on the same continent nor were they even in the same hemisphere for a while. The derivative was that we had to visit both kids and I ended up traveling to South America and Africa. Lisa did a stint in a children’s village in Tanzania. This ultimately left me with the realization that if you only live once, take life and live it, hence my journey to the Middle East.
Never mind the focus. It suits the mood. We were having a torrential summer rain. It was so heavy that the pool overflowed. The kids couldn’t stand to be inside and ran out to play on the deck. When you’re in the pool, you’re already wet. So a little more water wasn’t going to make much difference. Yes, I do believe that they were having a great time. I’d like to think it was a magical childhood moment for them.
We’re in transition. The kids are grown but not yet married. There are no grandkids. Lisa’s tired of all the Christmas decorating (and especially the take down). So last year was a minimal year with presents exchanged and a Christmas tree visited at my brother’s house. But back when the kids were small…. We spent a few Christmases at the Westhampton house. No matter where, the kids were all excited about the tree decorating. Julia loved to read and I had hooked her into reading the Nancy Drew series. Meanwhile I had to test the strings of lights to see if they were working. As soon I tested the lights, Lisa would put them on the tree. She didn’t think I could do the lights quite right. And here’s Julia all set to go, right in the middle of it all. Yes, it’s a fond memory.
We had a maple in the front yard of the house. Lisa hung a rope swing and we had many a photo-op with the kids in that swing. Years later, not too many, Lisa got a gardener/landscaper who came along and trimmed the tree. He took down that branch. We never spoke about it again. I didn’t mention it because I’m sure Lisa knew what memories he took with that branch. What can you say; it’s been done. Of course, we never told him to cut down that branch. Still, I got a lot of memories of that swing. We’ve hung the swing again in the back yard. But no one ever sits on it. Somehow it was in the front yard with cars going by on the country lane that made this swing special in its location.
The secret to this image is that David is left-handed. Looking at it in that context; the image and position of the hands makes sense. Otherwise it looks like he’s backwards and dropped the ball rather than bowled it. That right hand, I swear, is in a primed position but out of position. David swore he was doing it right. What can you say? There are bumpers in the gutters. I don’t know how many years ago it was and I don’t know if he’s a better bowler today. This was our once and only trip to the Port Authority bowling alley… so far.
I’ve posted this picture in this blog somewhere else. But I was in this folder and consider the image and its memory iconic to me. We were on one of the ski trips that we took with our friends affectionately known as the ‘Tyler Place group.’ We all met while we had vacationed with our families at, you guessed it, the Tyler Place in Vermont. So about once each winter we skied together. My recollection is that this was a rental house near Okemo. Just as we were packing to leave on Sunday, I got this image of Julia at the window. She was dressed in black so it was a perfect image to isolate her face and hands. Yeah, you get lucky like that sometimes. I’m just glad that I walk around looking for opportunities and that I’m lucky enough to have a camera handy when the shot presents itself. As with most of my images this was not posed but it was taking advantage the moment.
We went through a puzzle phase in our family – Lisa’s idea. You know – jigsaw puzzles – the really hard ones where the pieces and patterns are made to confound you. Here’s a proud moment at the completion. Everyone, Grandma, Grandpa, and Julia had worked hard to get this completed and I commemorated the event. There’s a look of satisfaction all around. We did this for a while, maybe 20 puzzles worth, and then everyone lost interest. It was the days before the internet. I wonder what my kids’ kids will be playing.
Just like those buddy movies, David and Michael remain best friends to this day. They met in grammar school and have stayed steadfast ever since. This was one of the autumn trips we took to Bear Mountain. They were just a couple of buddies having a quiet walk in the woods. To complete the circle, David called me this past autumn for directions to the lake. He and Mike, with Sarah and Josh, were planning to hike in the autumn around the lake again. It’s pretty special to have that memory carrying forward.
As I have mentioned, Julia was born on August 1. The poor kid was deprived of having a school year birthday party. So she had a party before the school year ended, a party for the immediate family, a party with the extended family, and often a party of her friends during the summer vacation… all so she wouldn’t feel left out… It was Julia’s birthday and we had arranged for a party in the Hamptons where we had rented Margaret’s place that summer.. Her friends and her brother just fell into place for me to get this shot. No posing. I was just there. Sorry, I don’t know who was far left but second in… Julia, Alexandra, Ben, David, Chessie… endless summer day without a care.
The kids loved to dress up. They loved to play act. Me, I never did this as a kid. A couple of times they painted themselves and set up a priceless photo opportunity. This was the first time. I got this shot with the kids looking into the upstairs bathroom mirror with the overhead can lights casting perfect lighting for their faces. Sometimes it pays to know the lighting and its possibilities in your house. Yes, a little flash would have added catch lights to the eyes… but hey.
I know that I’ve taken some good photos over the years. I had this one in my office and one of my colleagues Frank Loh admired it. Frank was a childhood friend to my younger brother. This shot was taken while we were on a trip to the Berkshires in the autumn. It’s funny that sometimes you can take a shot and know it’s special. But in most instances, I would take a shot and realize it was iconic after I developed and mounted the slide. And that was often months later. Digital it’s not.
Lisa would never let me take a picture of her naked… We’re at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway in May 1984. Anyway that’s how I remember it. Lisa had been told by her friend, Eileen, to be sure to stay there. No one told us that a reservation was absolutely a must. So Lisa pleaded (by telephone from Los Angeles two days earlier) that we were coming on this once in a lifetime trip and couldn’t they please make some room. She didn’t even tell them she was pregnant. Yup, right beneath the water is her gravid belly holding Julia who would arrive in August. I couldn’t help wonder whether Julia was getting cooked. Well, the Inn was full! But….! There was a cabin in the mountain and the hot tub was broken, so we could stay there since no one was staying there until repairs were complete. It was up on the mountain, completely secluded, with a view of the Pacific (and the sunset). It had the hot tub, which, mysteriously, was working just fine. Idyllic! And lucky! You just have to assume that the Gods were smiling. And Julia was there too. But I’m not sure if that counts.
There was a recent article in the NY Times about the park. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/nyregion/pool-built-for-the-people-6200-at-a-time.html
I swam here as a kid in 1967. It cost .25 cents. We went nearly everyday in the summer to cool off. I was 16 and took John 11 years old. I don’t remember if Eric came along or not, he was probably too little. We were allowed to wander around unescorted. There were no cell phones, and we could have been snatched. But those were days before Etan Patz and no one thought anything about letting kids run loose. After the 50 cents to get in, I probably didn’t have a dime. No ID, nothing… it was truly a time of innocence.
Your mom and I had a very early date here. We spent the afternoon in the park. She had just cut her hair really really short. And I got a picture where she put a pencil under her nose as a joke. It didn’t matter. She was beautiful then, as she is now.
We (your mom and I) rode past the park when we did the five borough bike tour. There’s a picture of me with the Hellgate Bridge in the background holding my bike over my head that your mom took. The bike that I’m holding was lost by David’s friends when he loaned it to them (without my permission).
I lived in Astoria twice. I was born here and then we moved back in 1967-68. The Olympic trials were held in this pool around 1964 and my dad was around to swim with the Olympic hopefuls. He was fast enough for them to take notice… so he said.
Julia ran a big track meet here. I was there to take pictures of her under the Triborough Bridge. The Columbia Grammar Team won the relay. Julia was the starter of the relay, like I often was when I ran track. Go girl, get the lead and let the rest of the team bring it on home.
Your mom and I rode over the same Triborough Bridge during the 5 borough bike tour. I’d been to the park hundreds of times and driven over the bridge too many times to count. But I only rode over it on a bike once.
Yeah, there are a lot of memories wrapped up around this park.
Every year as a kid, Julia had birthday celebrations that began at the end of the school year so her school friends could be there. Then there would be the immediate family. Then there would be the extended family. Then there would be the friends we would vacation with annually at her birthday. So by now you must guess she’s well past forty. But to look at her she’s still my favorite daughter. (Note: only daughter.) Well this year, this summer has been exciting because she’s moving to California to teach for a year. I just hope she doesn’t find a boy friend and settle there…kidding. Anyway, good luck. I expect that I’ll see you visiting the Middle East again before too long.
So, it’s officially a year here in Saudi Arabia. What can say to this life changing year that has been like no other? The biggest event was in learning to scuba dive. So far, I have flown a helicopter, skiied, and followed photography as major interests and hobbies. I have minored in golf. Well, there are some friends who know my golf skill, or lack thereof, and will attest that I’m out to have a good time riding the cart. The only unfulfilled thing on my list was to skydive. Both my kids have tandem jumped so I guess it’s vicarious pleasure from them to me. I have loved, married, had kids, and watched them grow up. I think my own parents would have been proud of what I have done.
To have only one life, I can say I have few regrets. I’ve had a pretty good time. I’ve been privileged to touch and save some lives. I’ve done some surgery that has been nothing short of wonderful and there are folks who lived a better life because of it. And, with it I remember sadly that you cannot save everyone. At this point the adventure continues and I am doing things that are not naturally within my comfort zone. I have been to and will visit some places I might not have otherwise had opportunity to see.
Photography remains my main interest. It keeps pushing me to new adventures. So as I look ahead there’s a lot to do and plenty to keep me occupied.
We did this shot in the old town. It’s not as though you can see how hot we had become. It was about a minute later that we made a break for the car and the A/C. You really can’t walk around in the late afternoon. It’s why I believe everyone is out and about at late night.
Even though I have been in Jeddah for nine months, I have barely gotten around due to transportation limitations. Here is a ‘find.’ I had passed this place many times but it is a bit too far to walk. We stopped in and checked the menu. Julia loved it so much we ate there twice. The dish you see is cherries covering kabob meatballs and crisp flatbread chips. The other is phyllo wrapped meatballs that will be covered by yogurt. The pictures don’t do justice to the fun that we had. And it is cherry juice that we drank. No alcohol, it was very good indeed.
We wandered the old city. In the sun it was hot as in hot and sweaty. We were melted in pretty short order. Julia was pretty hot but remained a good sport. She even wore the scarf out of deference. Men don’t have to wear any covering except the pants are to cover the knees. I was hot but not nearly like what it must be to wear a black abaya. I have to say that I have Julia video of what shall be called ‘the abaya dance.’
A macaroon in New York is associated with Passover and is a heavy coconut cookie. In French (Paul restaurant) it is a light meringue cookie sandwiching some fresh raspberries. I had an éclair. Julia didn’t want a taste of mine and before I could turn around she had finished her macaroon. Why? She didn’t want to share hers. Hmm… I didn’t really want pink food anyway.
Having run Julia around in a jam-packed schedule and with jet lag ever present, she was too exhausted to go for dinner. Being the ever insistent father, I dragged her out of the villa kicking and screaming all the way. I ordered up a lemonade with mint (hence the green color). “Taste it.” And then I had to order another one for myself. She had the classic croque monsieur. It’s classic because it was a specialty of her Grandmother Lila when the kids would go to her house for lunch. Dinner woke her up but Julia was still too full for dessert. So we took it home.
I never played basketball with Julia. I wasn’t even aware she had game. Here she is, abaya and all, dribbling and putting in a lay-up. It was pretty hot and she did this just once just to show me a thing about her skill. Neat!
I took Julia on a tour of the hospital. Ordinarily, it’s not a big deal to show your daughter where you work. I did a lot of ‘take your daughter to work’ days with her. But the architecture is pretty stunning. So once again I got this fortuitous shot of her LCD as she lined up her shot. One thing that they do a lot is to make elaborate displays for new babies. The balloons are draped around the doorframes. Here’s what you see before it’s installed.
I can’t quite describe this confection. It’s a glazed roll, but more like a cream puff. The center is laden with melted butter at its bottom. The glaze bakes on and provides a sweet crisp topping. I found them quite delightful. Julia found them heavy and too much for an afternoon snack. All I can say is they are really the best right out of the oven. I’ll see if David enjoys this when he visits. It’s not something that I have come across in New York.
This is the term used to describe looking at your camera LCD to judge the last photo you took. This shot was purely fortuitous. I happened to get the LCD screen as Julia was lining up her shot. If you tried to do this you would miss nine out of ten times. Hey, I got lucky. Underwater, you don’t really get to use the viewfinder, and the LCD at best is just an estimate. You really let the camera do the hard stuff, focus and exposure.