Today would have been my Dad's 95th birthday. He made it to 93, but when somebody you love has a birthday on a holiday, the memories seem to come up more often. I wrote about him in my Sunday Morning Reflections post, and I've shared a lot of personal things about him over the years in this blog. I know there's only so much about my Dad you can handle. So, as I looked at these two 8x10's, there were a few things I hope make my birthday tribute different and even a little educational.
Even though he passed away two years ago, there aren't many people lucky enough to have their parents around at my age, let alone enjoy being with them. Dad was always my best buddy, and a few of you met him at the various conventions. I got him to write a couple of posts over the years, and one of them was shared on the MarathonPress blog, just last week.
What I love about these two images is first, they were taken by another best buddy, Don Blair. Don and Dad were good friends, and when they were together at any convention, it was nonstop laughter. The second reason I love these images is they make such a great point about having a studio!
There was no studio! These were taken in the Hasselblad booth at IUSA, 20-25 years ago. I've heard so many young artists who haven't taken the time to learn lighting complain about not having a nice studio. Well, a great studio won't make a difference if you haven't mastered the craft!
Then there's the pose. When Don first set Dad and me up, Dad was sitting, and I was standing behind him. Well, I hated the Polaroid. There's another point - these were shot on film and Don did a test print with the Polaroid back on his Hasselblad ELX. It was the only way to preview an image.
The reason I hated the pose was that it made Dad look like a peanut! I might have been 7-8 inches taller and outweighed him by fifty pounds, but he was always the biggest person in my life. Having me standing behind and towering over Dad put him in a different light. So, Don simply switched us around, and the result became one of my favorite portraits.
Last on the list is the thumbs up we're doing. Don often made it the last shot of virtually anybody he was having fun with and especially if there were two or more people in the portrait! It was part of his signature, along with his smile, and booming laugh. Supposedly there's something genetic in the arch of our thumbs too - no need for DNA testing to verify the connection between us two!
I like to think that Dad and Don are smiling together right now as I share this image. Happy Birthday, Pop - I miss ya!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.