“I’m looking for something with a flattop”, I said. The formal salesman directed me to the only one in the showroom with a flat top. It had a soft walnut semi-gloss finish that I didn’t think Dad would dislike. He was a carpenter craftsman, after all. It’s fine, I’ll take it, I said.
The portrait I’d taken of Dad by the window in my studio would sit on an easel atop his casket, on a flat top. Dad was born and raised in Norway, hence the classic Norwegian sweater, and his favorite book, The Bible. Much has been said of the importance of making good photographs, i.e. portraits, of loved ones before it’s too late. ‘Nuf said. I have bunches of great snapshots of Dad, but this is my favorite portrait of him.
In searching the archives for this post I found not nearly enough photos of Mom, since she passed away 24 years before Dad. But the year I started a portrait studio in 1984, I pursuaded them to sit for me in my studio. It was November, and this is the only studio portrait I made of Mom and Dad as she passed the following February.
In 1995 Dad and I went skiing locally on Long Island. I forewarned him that I’d be doing a portrait of him during the ski outing. Arriving at his home I find him in brown corduroy slacks, blue shirt, multi-colored, albeit swell for any other day, jacket. “Strip!” I order. We’re switching outfits. He humbled himself and the following is the outfit I originally dressed in that morning. And yes, I was just lovely in brown and blue for the day. I got to wear my own hat.
Have Camera, Will Travel…even if it was just to Mom and Dad’s a few miles away. Mom, stick that sweater on, would you? And come outside. I need you to hold these mums for me while I get a shot of them. I think Dad was a tad more willing to be photographed than Mom, who was also born and raised in Norway, hence the perfect autumn garb.
Dad and me in the studio, 2000. When it comes to Mom and Dad, the photographer must remember to get on the other side of the lens occasionally.
I’ll need to continue this on another day. This is my PS. for today…