You got some?
Memories. We all have some. Some are more faulty than others. Some are more rosy as they fade. Jog?
At one point I carried a camera and a video to record events. I found that I never watched the videos. So, I returned to photographs pretty much exclusively. Even now, my spiffy mirrorless camera or iPhone makes video easy, I still prefer photos.
Wistfully, I recall. I see my kids and their antics, activities, accomplishments, and our times together. You can’t go back. I find these slides as little treasures. I am glad they are preserved. It is the legacy my kids will receive one day.
We had to watch three little ones. TV is the best sitter, ever! I bailed and took the easy way out. Sorry. It was a Disney movie – Dumbo. Mesmerized. Hypnotized. Badness. Everyone was distracted. Good? Bad? I viewed it as a means to an end. We were tasked with providing care and distraction. Oh, yes, we fed them later, food, real food, not junk. Hey, I can cook leftover mac and cheese. Grapes need no cooking. Yup, fruit, too.
Here’s a shout out to Shutterfly. They took over Kodak a while ago. And my photos have been preserved with them. Of course, I did not load pictures without keeping the originals myself. But where? I could no doubt find them in a little bit. Or, I can be tempted by their solicitous email. They send me memories from years back and I am supposed to respond by getting prints. For some reason the idea works counter-intuitively for me. Nice. They post my pics as a tiny file. I can’t take the file and actually use it. Is that right? Thank you. I can post them. No harm no foul. The issues open for discussion are too numerous to count.
Kids! Mine! They visited Jeddah five years ago. Hence, the abaya. How time flies! It was a special trip, the last I had with both my kids alone. Jules is married now and almost a new mom. Saudi Arabia does not allow tourists. They make their millions from the penitent to Mecca. So, it was unusual that my kids were allowed to visit me, pretty much a one time deal. So, this is a memory on many levels. A few years, only a few.
And street photography. It seems that my camera was a magnet. This group of kids was perfectly happy to ham it up while I took their picture. It was a request. Theirs! Thank you too.
I was there. Yup! Well, I could have missed it. But no, I was there for this singular moment. Eight months old. Early. Jules stood against the wall and then stumbled off. The rest is history. She was a champ on the track team. It was a memorable moment. I was there. I got a shot. I don’t have to make some excuse that I missed the shot. Not this time. I got something memorable. Here it is. I’m smiling to think that she dressed for this auspicious occasion. Okay, it was me: I chose the outfit – hat and pants. Really?! Goofy look? Priceless!
I got a couple shots of the kids with flowers. Classic. It’s a retrospective look. I scanned my old slides and these popped out for comment. They are like old familiar friends. I just never put them together like this. Side by side. They have stood the test of time. I liked them from the moment they were developed and I still do. Of course, the kids got old. They are still my kids…just older. Still cute. Shhh… don’t tell ‘em I said that.
Yeah, yeah, it’s early for Xmas. But then I might be late. These pictures were taken about two decades ago. Yup, little kids. Huh? I just got to scanning my old slide collection. I stopped in 2013 and just picked it up again. Thankfully, I’m still alive to do it. Digital is the only thing that will survive. No one’s gonna want to pull out and look at 100, 000 or so slides. Hey! I still have a projector. Yes! A slide projector! And a screen! Oh well, no one much cares. But then again… it was a tradition. Tradition? Yup. On Xmas night the kids started sleeping by the tree. They’d gather their blankets and stuffed animals and the latest Xmas book and… Nellie, the dog. They’d sleep through the night with the Xmas tree lit. Then they stopped doing it? I miss the old times, sometimes.
Imagine – he’s in the circus clown hall of fame. He slipped away on a technicality until…now. A staple and star he left/retired from the Big Apple Circus. Then a girl accused him. It was too late. He could not be fired since he was already gone. The circus changed owners. Now he’s back. The #MeToo movement fired up his accuser and he’s gone. Long story short. I hope I got it right.
Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
This son of a gun posed with my kids (when they were once kids). Who’d have known? As the NY Times noted: that’s not the man he is in “costume.” Yeah, pun intended (with sarcasm and shock). Sorry kids. I’m really sorry. Shocked? Saddened? You bet.
Blow yourself up. Not literally. Recent years have had an explosion of yard balloons that inflate and decorate your lawn. Purpose? …dunno. Now you can be the first on your block to blow yourself up. Yeah!
Finally! Someone with cleverness and wit, it’s not a prerequisite of the parade. But I get it. Brilliant! Yes, there were a few Harry Potters too. But Magritte? Great!
Halloween – Think Cute
Another year I might have been at the famous – world famous – Village (NYC) Halloween parade. It’s for grown-ups as in it is humorous and elaborate and pretty R rated. Political satire and recent events are the inspiration. You’d have had a ton of Hillary Trump satire. Really!? Nope, this is family and for kids. It’s not NYC. The folks are friendly and not particularly fiendish. Go for cute. It’s called the Sea Witch festival and it brings in a ton of revenue to the local economy. The parade is big enough to attract live TV coverage. A helicopter hovered overhead. It was commercialized with every local radio station parading in vans with logos plastered along the sides. Yes, local business is supportive and heavily represented. In the end it’s about the kids. Right?
The last time I saw snow was….mmmm… 2012. Anyway, it was a while ago. Skiing was one of my first passions as a full grown adult. I took the kids. David was so small on the mountain, people turned to photograph him on the steep blue/black trails in Utah. I’m not proud. I was an idiot for getting a kid who could barely walk straight up on a pair of skis. Laid back! David was so laid back he fell asleep on the chair lift. Nap time was nap time. He would just pass out. Oh! I started first by skiing with them between my legs. Jules and then Dave would be in front – I would ski slowly while holding them back with my ski pole. Yes, nuts too. Dave would lean over the pole like a cat arms just resting there. He snores! In the quiet shushing over the snow Jules and I heard him snoring away. Yes, nap time!
On this occasion Jules finally got her wish to try a “board.” Her cousins and brother had tried. She’s the only girl on my side of the next generation. The cousins are not too skilled. Dave can handle himself. And Jules spent an hour tumbling and falling. She sprained her wrist, gave in, and went back to a sensible pair of skis. Smart!
You don’t get to many selfies with your kids. But I guess it happens more than before. Low light, bad focus, poor composition, wide angle distortion matters not. Hey! It better than nothing. As I paused in editing I realize that these imperfect pictures mean the most.
Another year older. Last I checked Jules had a goal to visit 30 countries by 30 years old. And for a number of years we were in the Tyler Place on her birthday. She made out like a bandit. She had a party before school ended, another with the family, and the third in Vermont. Now, married. It still seems odd to me. She and Dave have had ups and downs. But they get better with time. I know that when I am with them it’s a lot of fun. But then, that is less and less. It’s nice to have some pics of them together. Funny. In all pics everyone is happy and it’s never raining. It makes you think that life is about sunny days. Well, if you recall, the wedding day it rains sideways. There was a drought in California. Sunny the day before and the day after the wedding, I don’t think anyone cared that it rained. But a lot of very nice shoes got all muddy.
Fun, joy, innocence. There aren’t too many unguarded joyful moments. Kids have them all the time. And maturity and life sucks it out of you. (oh, look, Susan, Dave has a Tyler Place t-shirt)
As I write someone from the mobile phone company has called my cellphone to inform me that I just won 200,000SAR. Fantastic. Here’s how to collect….scam me once shame on me….They scammed Jules. She had an offer of winning $800 but had to respond instantly. Her mom got involved and helped. They both contacted the scam artist who sold them on a trip to Florida to see real estate. $800 was theirs. The cost was $200 deposit – refundable when they took the tour. Yeah, gullible, silly, all – and no one ever went to Florida to see real estate.
My attorney sent me a plaintiff email that he was stuck in London. He’d lost his ID, passport and all money. He asked me to forward some funds. Indeed, it was so sad. I called him at home to let him know I’d send him money. Hacked!
David tried to scam me. He called me at work. “Dad, I got a low cost trip to Madrid. I have to act immediately.” “What did your mother say?” Right, no permission, this was right after they blew up the Madrid train station some years back. So, off to Jamaica. Three amigos, living on an extreme budget. I fund education not fun. I’m having office hours, and David calls me from Jamaica. “We were in a bar and Ben fell off a stool and cut his neck…” Um, yup, I’m a surgeon. But there’s not much I can do 2000 miles away. Bar fight! Everyone in the office laughed at my being so gullible as to think the kid fell off a stool. Actually, true, the poor kid passed out from dehydration. Budget! They were rationing fluids. Afraid to drink water they were on a Coke a day. While Ben was in the hospital, the other two gave up and posed as registered guest in the hotel next door. They ate the buffet dinners until Ben got out and that scam didn’t work anymore.
My kids are all grown up now. And here was one of the last times I was together with them. They have husband and girlfriend now. This was the last of innocence together. It comes and goes with hardly a notice. Then, you realize that it happened and will never be repeated. It’s a bittersweet realization. All grown up…
Turtle Encounter – Magic!
Magical! There are a few events in this very exclusive category. David had just learned to dive. Jules had just joined us. We were pretty much alone underwater. Weekdays here are empty. Just the three of us and the fishies. Omar from the last time, had shown us a nice cleft in the coral. It was idyllic and picturesque like swimming into a canyon. And with nothing but bubbles to hear, it was so calm and peaceful. Jules went into the gap first. Dave was middle and I followed. It’s like snow skiing. You keep the new guy in the middle and I watch for trouble. Jules, the one in front, blazes that path.
Suddenly Jules pulled up straight as though she’d hit a wall. Dave veered to the side. There! Right in front of us! A turtle just sort of sitting on the coral. Really! It was as though it was sunning itself. Yeah, it was a special moment We all got pictures, And Dave got video. And to this day I do not know if we all realize how special a moment we shared together. It had passed so quickly. Bittersweet. I can savor it in retrospect. It can never be repeated.
The kids never got along too well as they got older. But they stick together when they are nervous. After all, family is family. Holding hands? I thought it was touching. Jules was assuring Dave that he would be safe from me. I had and have a tendency to underestimate danger. Everyone still has their limbs…. But there was this sign at the ski resort that warned – “Are you an expert? You’d better be!” – as the kids skied under it. Good thing Jules was too small to read and comprehend till much later. But no, I’m mostly safe…. This image was daytime. I persuaded them to go on a night dive. Shhhhh..Dave had not even gotten his open water card. Yes, that was also touching to see both kids swimming, holding hands tight, and swinging their flashlights everywhere to see and ward off sea monsters. It was exhilarating but probably too much to ask my kids at that time. But hell! It was pretty magical too!
I got a pair. They grew up. I sometimes wish they were still little. Then they lived at home and depended upon you. Now, they are grown up. They have their own lives and won’t friend me on Facebook. What I don’t know is probably better for me. For a long while they did not particularly get along. Now, they are grown up friends again. Things keep changing. If I had a wish it is for them to be happy in what they do and who they know. Everyone should have a set of kids to make them proud as I am about mine. That’s about it for sentimental. I already cracked up at the wedding. Hey! There haven’t been any fish for a while? At my wedding the photographer shot about ten rolls. That would be about 360 photos. Thousands! I got thousands at this wedding. And all night and day there were smart phones clicking away. Yup, digital multimedia is king. If I do an image a day it would be years to post. But like Nat Geo, so many pictures, so little space…
As I said kids are pretty much the same everywhere. They are fun and unassuming. I like to get candids when I can. The trick is to shoot them unawares. I prefer spontaneity.
One Up One Down
Maybe it’s a brand new style. I didn’t much pay attention when pant were worn below the crack of your butt. Maybe this kid’s got something going. It was not hot nor was it cold. Half and half?
Another characteristic of street photography is that there are no rules. So shoot and to hell with the horizon being straight. In fact things look edgy when they are all crooked. It makes life seem more real. What is the blue liquid? Who knows? It’s all in a day on the Corniche.
Want horizontal, I can do that too.
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.
London Street Photography
I’m starting a series of iconic images in my life and will continue for a few weeks in my posts. This blonde headed kid is one of my first street photography images. It was taken back in the ‘70’s. I’m kind of shy, really! So it’s not my first inclination to put my camera into someone’s face and shoot. We were at a street fair and this kid just presented himself, isolated in the crowd, just him and me. He’s got to be in his forties now. I wonder what he’s doing. This was one of the earliest street images for me. The other great source of images was New York City’s street fairs, which were just beginning in the ‘70’s. Nowadays there’s a street fair every weekend and most times in multiple locations. Back then, it was a local merchants fair. But, London was among my earliest experiences.
Mohonk Mountain House
For a few years while the kids were in grammar school, we visited Mohonk Mountain House with a bunch of other families. It was an opportunity for the kids to hang out and not be constantly supervised by a hovering parent. It was a fairly relaxed few days where we could hike, cross country ski, skate, snow tube, or just lounge around. The kids had a great time with a little freedom. They weren’t being escorted and watched every moment. And we enjoyed seeing them be kids.