Father and Son Reunion

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My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. ~~ Jim Valvano (college basketball coach and broadcaster)

I can’t do it! The quote I opened with is supposed to be sarcastic and I was going to explain my childhood and all the missteps my father took which made me the person I have become- someone who seeks love and attention and appreciation and approbation. But isn’t that what we all crave, to a certain extant? I became the class clown! People like me, or at least laugh with me! And it isn’t that my father was a bad or abusive man. He just wasn’t Cliff Huxtable. He didn’t have a clue how to deal with a kid who was inquisitive, smart in school, artistic, sensitive. And introverted. Painfully so! My father never finished high school. I finished colllege and received my Master’s degree.

My father only had eyes for my mother. Theirs is a love story to rival all others. And there, perhaps, is the problem. I was my mother’s rival for my father’s affection. Which opens up another can of worms. So let’s just put this to rest by my explaining the photos above.

I discovered a stack of 35mm slides (transparencies) stuffed in an envelope while going through some old boxes at my dad’s house. He remembers taking them sometime in the 1980’s, in Long Beach NY and Manhattan, but does not remember the camera. They had not been stored properly and had faded, were badly scratched and embedded with dust. I took them to our local Costco and had them transferred to dvd, then I processed them in Lightroom. The few that are in b & w or split tones, had no color layers left with which to play. The most difficult part of this “restoration” was removing as many of the scratches and dust spots as I could with the touch-up brush. So there you have it, the first collaboration between father and son!

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. ~~ Sigmund Freud (founding father of psychoanalysis)

Remember, if you need a black and white fix, visit Monochromia. ~~ Joseph Giordano

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54 thoughts on “Father and Son Reunion

  1. Excellent photos. I share your sentiments actually. My upbringing wasn’t a bed of roses either, so I sympathise wholeheartedly. I feel you. Humour has always been my saving grace, as it appears it has been yours. Nothing wrong with that. Sign of genius you know… 😉

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  2. I have many, many slides from when I was young and have been thinking about getting them onto DVD, too. Not cheap, but worth it in the long run. Your dad had the same eye for an excellent photo.

    janet

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    1. Thanks, Janet. If there is a Costco that you belong to, their transfer to dvd is under $20 for up to 50 slides and takes about 3 weeks. I only had about 20 slides but still had to pay the full price. It was worth it, though.

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  3. This finish product of some of those photos is quite interesting, something you would not be able to get with a digital camera…. As for my love for camera, I got it from my father, as long as I can remember he had a 35 mm camera for evey family occasion and when I started photo in my teenage years, I did it with his 35 mm Minolta

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    1. Thank you, Nelson. Shortly after I was born, my father bought a video camera and so he became the family videographer. We did have a black and white darkroom in our garage when I was growing up so I believe I got interested through him. But none of his old photographs exist save for these. And I doubt they could be blown up and printed. there is still dust and scratches on them.

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  4. Very nice tribute to your fathers photography, Emilio!

    I don’t think anyone’s life, especially childhood can be called “perfect” we all have had high points and some low – of course, many are far worse off than most.

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  5. Others before me have already expressed my reaction – clearly you and your father share a talent. What a cool project to sort through your dad’s photos and restore them 🙂

    Neither of my parents had any interest in taking photos or ‘capturing the moment’. As a result, there are big ‘holes’ in our family past.

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      1. I spent weeks transferring our vhs tapes of the boys when they were small. I used a software called Pinnacle to transfer the tapes directly to my computer (and subsequently moved the files to an external hard drive).
        It certainly was an interesting exercise (not to mention time consuming) … and yours will be even more so since they will be of your childhood! 🙂

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  6. This was a unique and visually appealing collaboration. He may not have been the most expressive father, but perhaps photography is a language you can communicate to each other with. As I get older, I’m realizing that we do the best we can at any given time. Not profound, but it’s helped me forgive (many times) my biological father for his perceived shortcomings. He may be part of my DNA, but he’s not my Dad… I met him when I was 3 and he’s pretty great 🙂

    The Freud quote was a perfect ending. As I read your description of competing for affections, he came to mind (although, the Oedipal complex dealt with mother/son relationships rather than father/son… he still had some interesting and somewhat twisted theories!)

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  7. Wow, Emilio! Beautiful, poignant project. Such a wonderful way to bridge the past with the present. Do you live close to your dad? What does he think about your photography? What does he think about what all of US think of your photography? He should be very proud, and I hope he can express that to you.

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    1. We don’t live too far from each other, but mentally or emotionally we are worlds apart! He has never said anything about my photography or my interests. When my mother died, I interviewed him about their relationship, got all these old photographs together, and made a book for him. He ended up giving it to my cousin and when I recently questioned him about it, he had no recollection of the book. So it goes!

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  8. Emilio …as some of my previous comments reveal, I am not surprised to learn what you have shared in this post. The funny people are, the smart people, are often the ones who have so many stories to tell, whether good or bad, and those stories are often hidden behind humor.
    Thank you for sharing this significant part of you.
    And thank you for sharing the photos, too.
    The collaboration is wonderful!

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  9. Wow! What a stunning set Emilio! I can see where you got your talent from. Great collaboration! You really did a great job of restoring them. 😀

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  10. What a touching set of photos! Wonder what your father was looking for that he wasn’t able to articulate . . . .? They were certainly a tough generation and well done on the work Emilio!

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  11. The photos are beautiful, Emilio! I never would have thought them old shots. You’ve done a great job 🙂 Relationships with parents? That’s a whole different thing. I had my nightmares too. But then, what do my kids think of me as a parent? I fall a long way short, I’m afraid.

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    1. You might be surprised at what your kids think about you. And through personal experience it changes from decade to decade. Up until I was10 ,my father was my hero. From 10 to 20, a minor annoyance. 20 to 30, he seems to have become a bit more intelligent.

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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