Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dads Funeral

My fathers funeral was today. It was a very difficult especially for my mother. Her husband of almost 58 years was gone. When I kissed dad on the forehead to say goodbye, he was so so cold, ice cold. I remember this past year when I kissed him almost everyday his forehead was warm even hot. I would tell him "Dad see you tomorrow." and many times he would answer "See you dear" or the one time he said "See you sonny" (which was part of  the inspiration for the poem "My Father"). All those times I kissed dad, I thought of the day the kiss would be cold. I dreaded the coming of that day, today it happened.

  My Father
See you sonny!
  Today I'm going to die

Strong but soft
    Large now small
Work then give
    All for them

Love and miss
    Laugh then cry
See you sonny!
    It's time to die

Now he's gone
    But lives on
Heart to heart
    And in song

The funeral went well, I think dad would have been happy maybe even proud at the way it all went down. My eulogy got a positive response, probably got 15 compliments on it, the video was also positively received maybe 10 compliments there. Mom held up well with the help of so many family and friends. The guests had some good food at the end, the day was cold but sunny with little wind. I made some videos, took some photos with the Leica and digi. 

What I would normally do is transfer everything to DVD so that my father could watch it. I would run over to show him the video so he could see it all. I am sure he would have loved to know who came to his funeral, what they said, how they looked etc etc. Dad loved his family and friends, loved watching video of old anniversaries and weddings. I know he would have enjoyed watching his own funeral. He would have saw how much mom and his children loved him. At one point he probably would have told us, "Enough already! Don't bother, I am at peace now, don't make such a fuss.' 

My father has only been gone for 8 days but I miss him so much. I would just like to sit with him as he watched "Jeopardy", ate some pyrogies or watch him bake some bread. I would like to share a laugh with him just one more time.

Today was maybe the most difficult day of my life, and even harder on mom. I enjoyed spending time with my uncles and aunts, my cousins and their children but not having dad there to share it with is wrong, and strange. It all seemed half real to me.

Today dads forehead was ice cold, I will never seen his smile again, never be able to photograph him in my studio wearing strange hats, never again hear his stories or taste the fresh bread he baked for me. Things will never be the same now, when you have a father you sort of feel like a kid in a way. Your his little boy, he raised you, your his child but now my father is gone and that kid is also gone forever. 

I am worn down and tired, it has been a very long and difficult 13 months, time to try to think of other things and to sleep. Later when I am strong again I will work towards completing the vow I made to my father. I need to pay tribute to my father, his love for me is something I will never be able to pay back but I want to try to do the book and dedication I promised him. I need to at least try, if I fail I fail but I am going to give it my absolute best.

Me 34, Dad 66 on our shared birthday.

The Viewing

On Monday we had a viewing for dad. For those of you who do not know what a viewing is (new term to me also), they place your relative in a room in their casket as they will appear in their funeral.

Dad looked quite good, quite like himself. I have been to many funerals where the person who passed looks nothing like they did in real life. Dad looked somewhat like did in person. His face was full, he wore his glasses, his colour was a bit off from all the makeup. Dad was dressed in a beautiful blue suit, and he had on a blue and orange tie that mom gave him as a first gift when they were still engaged (hankie also!). Dad had kept the tie all these years and will wear it forever now.

The family was there, it was sad and solemn, I could not believe my father was in a coffin. Somehow none of it still felt real. We spent some time taking pictures. I had brought the 5x7 with me and decided to go ahead and use it. I took 6 pictures of dad lying in his coffin with small and large compositional differences. Before dad passed away I asked him "Do you want me to photograph you when your in your coffin?" He told me "Yes, well a few."

It was so strange because for years I have dreaded the moment that I would be photographing dad in his coffin with a view camera, and that moment had finally arrived. I might use one of those pictures in Rosebud as a finishing shot. Dad was happy his story was going to be told again, and I want to tell it properly, with compassion, to its conclusion.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Funeral And Eulogy Fears Through The Years

For many years I worried about attending my father funeral and giving dads eulogy. The thought of it (thinking of what I would say) would bring tears to my eyes for years and years. I would go over things I would say in my head and tear up thinking about that terrible day, that terrible moment. Dads funeral and my eulogy is something I dreaded and feared for a long time.

I think thou its going to be OK. I get to talk to a crowd of folks about what a great dad my father is (was). I get to pay tribute to the kind of man he was, to the love he showed us all. This is going to be good, it's going to be my gift to my father. He deserves a beautiful send off, god knows he earned it. That funeral/eulogy day has finally arrived, it's tomorrow.

Blu-Ray And Visiting Dad

I burned the 17 minute tribute to my father video that will be shown at his funeral on to Blu-Ray yesterday. I bought a Blu-Ray burner and some disks ($5 each) and got it done. I stumbled at first figuring out how to do it but then bot my Final Cut Pro software working and it went easy after that. I am getting about 6 times the file size onto the Blu-Ray disk that I can get onto a standard DVD. My hope is that eventually I can burn a documentary film of some kind in the same way.

Today we go to the funeral home to view dads body in the casket. I will take a few photos as dad wanted. A tough day. Tomorrow is even tougher, my fathers funeral day.

Emailed My Alberta Open 2015 Submission

Got up today and made up my email submission to the Alberta Open in about 40 minutes. Next year I will use this same template and do it in 10 minutes. You got to love this email submission procedure, its fast and effective. In years past I have gotten photos into the Open via email and I also did my submission that way for my large one person Kaasa show (37 photos).  I wish more galleries would accept submissions this way, things are slowly changing bit by bit. I guess it comes down to juries and the like meeting to go over the work and having everything in paper and DVD form for them. Still its 2015 its a Internet and email world. Figure out how to do these digitally folks! It works for others why not for you! My thinking is if your images are good enough you do not need any added bells and whistles that you can include in a hard copy submission. If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't!!

Anyway the files have been sent off, if the pics are strong enough I will get in, if not, I will not. Simple! I ended up sending the 5 pics I found last night of dad in the previous blog. I hope I will have the honour of telling dads story with at least one photograph in the Alberta Open 2015. Documentary work is not really a big thing at the Open, if I do get something in, it will probably be the only documentary photograph. The added computer art categories will make it that much more difficult to be accepted. We will see how it goes, I hope I am allowed to show my father, to have him remembered.

Note* The open exhibition is shown at both the Edmonton and Calgary Jubilee Auditoriums.
Update* Sent out an email to my photo related friends asking them to submit work. I hope that we can get as many entries as possible. The more people that enter work, the higher the quality of the eventual show.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 Possible "My Fathers Last Days" Alberta Open Submission

Here are 5 possibles for the Alberta Open 2015 exhibition submission, I will send in my email as per the guidelines next week. With the added computer art categories and an Alberta province wide group of folks to draw from, this years exhibition should be very difficult to get into.

Link: Alberta Open Submission

It seems the open is back and it is no longer just a photography exhibition. Now they are including something called digital manipulation and computer generated art (sounds like adobegraphs). I plan on entering 5 photographs, probably of the "My Fathers Last Day Series". The deadline is April 17th, so everyone in Alberta get off your butts and submit some work!

Alberta Open Call

Submission Guidlines

Link: Canadian Cancer Society Donation

If you want to help people like my father, here is a link to the Canadian Cancer Society, please consider making a donation.

Donate To Cancer Canada

One Of The Last 35mm Rolls

Here are some scans from one of the last 35mm rolls I shot of dad. There are 3 partially shot rolls in 3 other bodies yet. These pics were made with a Leica rangefinder, STAND development and Tri-x exposed at 800.

These are some of the most difficult photos I have ever had to make. I wanted to complete dads story, he told me to finish it and I did. I will make a few more pictures yet at the viewing and at the funeral like dad wanted, then I need to rest. It has been very difficult and emotional to keep photographing. I have cried until I can't cry anymore. Poor poor dad, at least he died at home with people who loved him.

Maybe dads photo story might help raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

Dad the day before he died, February 22 2015
Mom saying goodbye to dad after he passed, February 22 2015
Mom saying goodbye to dad after he passed #2, February 22 2015
The day after dad died, February 23 2015
Note* There is a bit more negative space above moms eyes in the 3rd photograph, I lost it in the scan. I might use this shot in the Rosebud show. For this last photo of mom and dad I shot wide open (I think) with a 35mm F1.4 lens and Tri-x at 800, the shutter speed was also very slow I think 1/15th of a second.

Link: Sleeping In Nepal

Found one of my photos being used on this rather strange site.

Quote from the site "We don't know it's good or bad? "

Seems to me that homeless people who are forced to sleep in public spaces out on the cold street is a bad thing.

The photo was actually not taken near the river as the caption in the story says. It was taken in an open street near the tourist section of Katmandu Nepal. The subject was the lives of street kids, I wish I had spent more time with them and made more photographs. I had forgotten about his particular image until I saw again today on this site. Maybe I should consider printing this negative.