Kids grow up fast and time passes in a blink. It’s all too brief a time when you get to hug your kids. Then they grow up and you shake hands and hug briefly. It’s not like you can sit and hold them like you had all the time in the world. I guess that’s why they invented grandchildren.
I did a couple of shots of grown-up (my cousins and me) jumping last year. This is shot of the offspring of the cousins (my kids, Wendy’s, john’s). Not only are they smart (but of course) but they are much more coordinated than their hapless parents (that would include me!). It’s a sad shot nonetheless. I had gathered the kids away from my dear aunt who was ill in order that they be shielded a bit from a situation. Still it was a spontaneous act and a good photo. It just conjures up a different memory.
Rene Magritte comes to mind in this surreal photo staged by Lisa. We were at Orient Point waiting to put our friends on the ferry to New London. I admit that this was staged and posed at Lisa’s request. Sometimes my friends will cooperate with silly requests. So Bob and Kevin posed along with me looking out to sea on a rock beach.
I’ve been working in random order, cleaning out the folder of pictures I’ve been holding to post. It turns out that this shot in Southampton, Long Island fits with my post yesterday. Lisa took this shot. We on a bench resting on the display furniture in front of the local store when the elements just came together with Lisa’s mom and dear Aunt Audrey. I have always liked this shot.
We were on one of our annual fall trips in the Berkshires. The kids were riding bikes and we stopped by the roadside to play around on the haystacks. The kids clambered up and I shot some great pictures. We made this trip several times and often coordinated the trip with a real estate hunt. We almost settled on a couple homes but ultimately chose Long Island. These trips were memorable for me. I hope the kids had as good a time as I did.
For a while, I will post to all three of my blogs regarding Saudi Arabia. My secret/insanity/mid life crisis will be now be revealed. I realize that I won’t live past one hundred. What fun would it be to say that I had lived in one place all my life? After letting you all know of my initial cultural shock and adjustment, I will continue the Saudi adventure on the Imaged Event blog, for which my posting has been fairly quiet. Like a diary I will provide observations of life and living in a foreign country. I am sympathetic but not so good on the empathetic side. My experience is giving me a new perspective as someone who is no longer language (English) proficient in learning how to adjust to different customs, food, and culture. I arrived on June 3, 2012, but have delayed posting until I have been in country long enough to get my bearings. My time zones remain completely discombobulated. To repeat, Photo Back Story will chronicle my photographic experience and Imaged Event will transition to my Suadi experience.
Today’s image is of the King. He is old and in poor health according to sources. His heirs apparent have both died and the line of succession is being determined. This seemed like a good place to start.
Under the George Washington Bridge. On my last day in New York, the kids and I rode our bikes to the GW Bridge. It was my last outdoor bike ride for now. As part of our ongoing silliness project, the kids ‘jumped’ in front of the Little Red Lighthouse. It took a few tries to get this one. I had a Canon G11 with the usual fractional timed shutter delay. You’d be surprised but a jump doesn’t last but a moment and to get both kids in the air was more challenging than I expected. Anyway, I got the shot. Since then I have gone to the other side of the globe and Julia will land in Africa in a couple hours. This is a memorable moment on many planes.
We’re stretching the concept of mermaid here. I guess in the spirit of things she has the idea and the looks to pull it off. There was really no dress code, just the theme of ‘Mermaid Parade.’ Really!
Ok, I have some gender issues here. They were dressed as mermaids and perhaps that’s where we leave the subject. I am reminded of the circus side show. It’s about the spectacle right. I still ask myself if I would ever dare go out looking like that. And remember mom always said, “Never go out without clean underwear on.” Well, somebody’s mother said it, right?
We went through a jump period in my family. The Christmas before Julia left for Africa to teach for a year, she introduced me to jumping. The new digital point and shoot she had would take a sequence of shots. The playback was hysterically funny. We did this a few times. So here, high on a hill top in Tanzania, Julia jumped. I’m pretty sure she had sandals on. If you’re happy and you know it…
This is a special shot and was my screen saver for a long time. It was late summer on Lake Champlain. We were staying at a family resort. The group decided to do the banana boat ride. This time it was kids. The boat was in motion and I juggled a film camera and a video camera, alternating shots. Both boat were in motion and any attempt at a close up, the motion was even worse. So by all rights I had no business getting this shot. If I had scripted this shot, I couldn’t have pulled it off. There is my daughter, leaning into the turn, a little extra lean, and with a yellow vest at that! If you had wanted the perfect shot with the perfect pose in full on motion… Well, I was pretty amazed myself. You can’t do it better with digital. Looking at the LCD screen can’t save you. All the kids had to be perfectly positioned. And to think I just shot one image and brought the film home to develop. The video by the way is very dizzying. Too close and the camera is moving too much. Too far and the figures are too small to make out. What luck with the film camera! Since I do this kind of thing periodically, my family tends to think nothing of it. But I can still say it was a pretty good shot.
There are a few times when Lisa and I agree – on a photo. You didn’t really wonder if we agree, did you? This one was an instant hit. Once again it wasn’t a technically perfect shot. It was a slide capture of son David, a grab shot at a hot summer birthday party for his cousins. I didn’t have a chance to correct the horizon. The background is pleasantly out of focus. It all came together in that moment. Automatic settings, no fumbling with focus or exposure, just shoot. It was my favorite for a long time. It still is a favorite. I just have many more now.
David did volunteer work on a youth mural in Brownsville, Brooklyn one summer. He spent time as an assistant helping to paint and to coordinate a group of kids in painting the wall of a day school. He got to paint his hand in the background. I like the vibrant intense colors. It reminds me of the Caribbean.
I love this shot. My wife took it. She’s really good, but just doesn’t want to shoot often. Here’s a winner. She took it of me while we were on our unguided bike tour in Maine. At Schoodic Point the waves were breaking and the fog thick. Nice atmosphere. Yes it was wet and misty. You can’t take this picture if the camera is protected in your bag.
My daughter went to camp in Maine for a number of years. The jump off point was Portland where we would stay the night before dropping her off. One of the lighthouses was always on my list to visit. If you’ve been there once, ‘no need to see it again’, was one of my wife’s pragmatic views. Indeed this shot was taken during one of the early trips to Maine and camp. I have been back to this park many times but I have not seen as nice a display of flowers on the hill as on this one occasion. Maybe you can’t go back. It’s another precious moment passed before you know it and not to be repeated.
Xmas at my brother’s place sometime in the late ‘80’s – here’s an unexpected shot. It’s in my collection of slides. Who knows, but I presume I took the photo. There were three brothers, two kids, wives and girlfriends, one baby on the way. I know we had video by then. As near as I can tell there are 8 cameras, two tripods, flash and other assorted equipment. Don’t forget the ninth camera that took this slide. Let is never be said that we weren’t taking enough pictures. I really had a laugh over this slide. Aside from the cameras, that’s sister in law Fanny, son David, and brother Eric.
Michael was one of David’s best childhood friends. We were in Bear Mountain hiking around in the fall. Just a couple of friends spending quality time with no agenda or worries, it was a special moment.
We were skiing in Vermont and staying in a rental home with three other families. I was wandering around outside on the last day just before we packed to go. Usually it the other way around as the kids would be out playing in the snow until the last moment when we have to return home in the car. Somehow, I managed to get a camera and take this shot before she turned from the window.
We had an old Argus C3 ‘brick’ that I once used – once! No lessons, no clue, and the results were over and under but never exposed properly. Even my amateur eye could see that the developed negatives had no images. I just played with the buttons for one roll of black and white film on a trip to Charleston, West Virginia to receive the Golden Horseshoe Award. The award was a pretty big deal given to three students from each county after a competitive exam each year. As a minority student winner, I was placed front and center next to the education commissioner in the official photo taken on the steps of an official looking building. That’s me to the right of the ‘old bald headed’ guy. Racism was still present in the state. I know, because my parents were turned down for membership in the local country club. The father of one of my co- winners was on the board that turned down my parents. Times change. I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look to see if the award is still given. I’ve moved on. They said that poverty was high and education among the poorest states in the nation. It wasn’t.
Well, here’s a rare photo of my childhood. As much a photographer as I am now is probably because my family had a laissez faire attitude about pictures from my youth. Or, it’s too emotional for me to go back and look for the old snapshots. There are some formal baby pictures but mostly we have very few photos from that time. We had an Argus C3 (see next post). And my first camera, now long lost, was a Kodak Instamatic 100. It shot 126 size cartridge film and had no settings and a rudimentary flash. At least I think it had a flash. Nonetheless it was my first camera purchased shortly after we moved back to NY from West Virginia. I had purchased it with my mother in Astoria on Ditmars Boulevard. Somehow the Kodak advertising had appealed to me through the Walt Disney TV show. I first used it at the World’s Fair 1964 to 1966. As it turns out my wife lived in Flushing a few blocks from the house that I lived before my family moved to West Virginia. She used to beg her parents to go to the Fair, and only rarely got to attend. My first real camera was an Exakta around 1971. After that I finally got a Nikon Ftn and the rest, as they say is history.
It’s my Mom’s birthday today. Happy Valentine’s Day. If you don’t know or are unfamiliar, Valentine’s is a day in which everyone gives cards, candy, flowers, and takes their special someone for a romantic candle light dinner. Get the picture? It’s a big Hallmark (cards) day. Flowers – especially roses – are double the price. Tomorrow, the day after, roses are back to the same price once again. Anyway, I am scanning thousands of slides at the moment. This shot was back in the ’70′s. I checked it out with my wife before posting. It’s not your usual shot for mom. I have obviously caught her by surprise in a totally unguarded moment. While the smile is genuine, there’s also something a little disconcerting for me. I guess I’m just not used to seeing Mom smile that way. I didn’t do any manipulation, color change, sharpening etc. It’s just a slide from another era.
David posed for this shot some years later. We both loved the earlier shot. He was cooperative and tried to do the same pose. I wasn’t quite able to get it right. Our kitchen is renovated now. And David has gotten to be older yet. No retake on this.
I also talk about this picture in PhotoCritical from the perspective of the film used. David cooperatively posed for me in our kitchen while I practiced my bounce flash technique. I regret that I used Polaroid slide film. Its quality is really inferior to what was available at the time. It’s only in retrospect that I realize that I missed a special moment. Well, not really missed. I do wish I could process this image but there’s not enough quality in the original. What a wonderful smile! It was a special moment that passed. Looking back you can only realize how special it was after time has passed.
It’s my brother John’s birthday today. We haven’t kept up as much as adults. I would remind myself to call and mostly managed to do so. It comes right before Christmas so he always seems to have the special days combined. His wife was always good to John. Here he is with each of my children when they were young. And that’s our first dog Reggie. If John looks afraid that he might drop Julia, I can say that I know the feeling well. Somehow he held on. It gets easier as you can see with David a couple years later.