Sometimes the best subjects to photograph are found close to home. Yes, shooting (photographing) your family can be sooo much fun…in between the chaos. No, but seriously there is so much you know about them which makes it a nice challenge trying to capture that on film.
This year we had the opportunity for most of us to be in one place this Christmas, my sister’s in Lexington KY. Maybe because it’s rare, or because we’re older now and have hopefully learned some things…but this year everyone got along really well. It was not without some stressful moments and irritations here and there…after all we are family; but a great time was had by all. Reflecting on this while working on some of the photographs and I was thinking how remarkable they are, each in their own right. I would like to share some of those thoughts now.
First there is my Mother who is now 87 and has seen and lived through some horrific times in Germany, things I’m thankful we will never have to endure, along with very painful family events; yet still emerges ultimately with a phenomenal sense of humor that can break out at any time…and such an intrinsic interest in people that is second nature to her. Today for instance, I took my Aunt to her Dr.s appointment; and my Mother stayed downstairs in the lobby of the building and had an hour+ long conversation with someone she never met before. The guy was truly sorry to see her leave! This is typical.
The eldest of the siblings, my sister Rita, lives in Lexington KY now and just loves quality time with family. She too, like my Mother, is young at heart and whether it’s travel adventures, going out dancing, or even a quiet glass of wine in a great place with quality conversation…she wants to enjoy what life has to offer! She is also a very talented artist from pastel drawings to digital photography. Her husband who I’ll call Mr N, the most famous of us all, is an enigma. Named NASA Inventor Of The Year, projects on Space Shuttle, processes for the U.S. Dollar bill, and I can go on; yet he has the most humility. His name is in books people will read long after we are gone, and our money spent. The pride he shows is in his family.
Their eldest daughter is a very talented architect who has designs stretching from New York to Colorado to Cambodia. Art and design is simply a part of her and is something we have always closely shared. I can’t say too about how proud the family is of her; although like most, we don’t voice these sentiments often enough. My niece also shares my Mother’s sense of humor, her laughter, her red hair, and best of all, her interest in people…it is a gift. I will call her ‘L’. She is also a phenomenal dancer, plays the piano, and has two beautiful daughters.
One daughter I call The Reader because reading is her talent, gift and passion. At 4 years old she was reading the newspaper with inflection, attending to every punctuation mark…favorite thing to do, Barnes & Noble to pick out a book. The younger impresses me all the time with her hand-eye coordination. Under 2 yrs old, she slams those shaped blocks right into their appropriate space on the wood board that you don’t even hear them touch the edges…and you know those stars, moons, etc barely fit.
L is married to a very interesting guy. Known first to me as ‘that guy who swing-dances so incredibly with my niece’. He is a computer programmer / web designer, sings dances plays the piano, knows firmly what he likes, has a cool quirky sense of humor, and a knack for mixology. One other surprise, he is one of the most gentle, patient, attentive fathers that I’ve ever met. Should have seen that coming, as he drove the van for my other niece’s bar-hopping bachelorette celebration…driving us from bar to bar then patiently waiting in the van reading during each of our escapades….even in a city foreign to him, Lexington, KY.
Rita’s second daughter, R, who also lives in Lexington is incredibly smart with a tremendous will when needed. She is also the best sales person I’ve ever met and a fantastic problem-solver. R is the go-to person when you have a crunching problem…she will force it through to most-often-then-not a successful outcome. She also has a very quick mind, fantastic sense of humor, and yes speaks Greek fluently (another story)! She is two children. She has a very smart and beautiful daughter who loves technology, computer games, and swims competitively. And the cutest, her son B who is such a gift of love and affection to the family. R’s husband, is a big tall fun-loving guy who normally lays back and takes it all in, but will go crazy singing 70s tunes and, imagine this, every song from ‘The Sound Of Music’…go figure.
Then there is the youngest daughter, M. Warm, funny, and empathetic, yet she knows what she wants. For the youngest, she has a surprisingly good head on her shoulders as they say. M is the one I can just be stupid-silly with on the phone. So casual and easy to talk with, I just love that! She is also fun loving and adores her family, especially her little one…what a character that child is. Some say children should be seen and not heard, well I could listen to this little 2 year old talk all day…just too cute. M’s husband J is a great family man and interestingly I would say gallant at times, and a other times a bit playfully crass. A natural and effective leader, there is something about him that says all will be okay whatever or wherever you are with him. Kids just love him!!
This about wraps it up on all who spent Christmas in Lexington this year. I probably ranted a bit, but I don’t think my family knows I feel what I said here, so this blog may be more for them.
There is yet my older brother, as some may know passed from bladder a few years ago, and we miss him. There is my youngest sister A, who is the most loving and the most content of us all. One day I hope I achieve that kind of contentment. She lives in Las Vegas with her very adoring and attentive husband who I found to be a really good conversationalist. Then there is my sister R and her family who live in Florida but couldn’t make it this year.
R is beautiful, very stylish, smart, caring, generous and very efficient. She strives to be a part of her children’s lives, and they love her for it. She runs a tight ship though, but how they adore her. R also has a knack for cultivating quality friendships; building a circle of great people. She is highly effective and respected in many charitable organizations she feels passionate about, and teaches her children the importance and responsibility of ‘giving back’. Both her daughter and son are gorgeous, talented, athletic, and smart. My niece A is so beautiful yet also sensitive and empathetic…and just loves her family. One moment, she seems to barely know you’re there, like most teenagers; and the next, surprises you with pure affection. Her son A is very handsome, talented, athletic, and brilliant. I just love having conversations with my nephew. He’s only 10, but we talk Tech and History…love it! His own father, my sister’s husband F, said if a person died and could come back as someone they chose, he would come back as his son. I don’t think pride could be more apparent. F is a smart, talented, fun-loving Irishman who adores his family. He also loves, music, sports, high finance and has an acute eye and passion for the arts, an interest I also share. I don’t share an interest in finance:)
Ok, that about does it for now. Happy New Year, and hope my family and yours have a great 2014!