The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Posts tagged “family

Father’s Day

jason, ashley, child, children, father's day

On July 14, 1989 I became a father. (My first, real, Father’s Day.) I didn’t know it at the time, but I had set sail on the happiest journey of my life.
My mom raised me. My parents were married, but it was a bad marriage, so I didn’t have a Dad. When I became one, I was never nervous, worried, insecure or any other negative emotion. I was absolutely confident in my ability to be a Dad. I wasn’t cocky. I simply knew to give my son (and daughter, born January 13, 1995) what I didn’t have. A real Dad. It was that simple for me.
How do I define “a real Dad”? Someone who takes care of their children. Period. Whatever needs to get done, you do it. There are no gender specific job duties. Diapers? Change them. Time to eat? Feed them. Doctor’s appointment? Take them. And on and on and on. (For the record, there is one thing I cannot do – cleanup vomit. It’s my personal kryptonite.)
There are gender differences in how we raise our children. The theory goes, Mothers tend to be more nurturing. Fathers tend to tell their children to “Go for it!” Some will discount that theory, but there ARE going to be gender differences. How can there NOT be? There are also our individual talents. My wife and I employ those different, non-gender, talents in raising our children. When she says, “Go ask your Dad,” or I say the reverse, it isn’t to shirk any responsibility, it’s because the other parent is simply better in those specific situations.
Getting back to those “job duties”, I took my children to daycare. It was onsite at my job at a hospital. It also made “visits to the doctor” very easy. I’d do it during work hours. Would I really hand that job over to my wife because it’s a “mother’s job”? I’m pragmatic, not an idiot.
I’ve always done the food shopping. Being raised by just my Mom, I had to go with her. Then when I got my driver’s license, I drove to the supermarket. That routine has stayed with me. When my children were old enough, they tagged along.
For them, growing up meant that if they asked me to do something and I said “yes”, they knew that I meant it. Questions would concern going to the movies, sleepovers, school sports, vacation, whatever. I wanted them to always trust what I would say. As a Dad I knew not to promise what I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) deliver. There are drawbacks to that approach. For years my son kept asking me to take him to San Francisco. I didn’t want to say “no” and wouldn’t say “yes” to appease him. (We did go.) He also wanted to go to London because my wife and I been there. (We went.) He also asked me to take him to Japan. I told him he’s on his own with that one.
In 1990 I started the tradition of reading, and videotaping, “Twas the Night before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Several years ago when my son was around 23 years old and on a date, he said, “Don’t worry Dad, I’ll be home in time.” Yes, we’re still doing it.
I’ve mentioned my son, but everything above also applies to my daughter. In 1999, because my wife had a job change and couldn’t go on vacation, I went on a Father/Son trip. He was 10 at the time. My daughter was 4. She remembered that and demanded, when she was older, that she’d have a Father/Daughter one. (We did.) Now that my son is (almost) 27 and doesn’t want to go on our family vacations anymore (I agree with his reasoning), I told my daughter, “Well I guess it’s just Mom and me now.” Her answer? “Heck no. You’re not cheating me. I’ve got several more years of going with you.”
As a photographer, I’ve taken millions of photos. I’ve also videotaped a lot. (I recommend that for any parent. My “adult” kids love looking at the photos and videos.)
Naturally not every day was fun. Illnesses, arguments, fights and tantrums are all part of the equation of being a Dad, but there are 3 quotes that answer all questions –
1) “I want to be a Dad just like my Dad,” my son said, when he was around 12.
2) “I love you,” texted my daughter yesterday for no particular reason.
3) And, at my son’s college graduation family dinner I said to him (and this applies to my daughter), “I am very proud of you. You keep me on my toes. I’m always questioning the validity of my advice. And you’ve made my life perfect.”

JayAshl20140813JayAsh


Grandma and Grandson

grandmother, grandson

Photograph taken many years ago
of my mother with my son.
He’s not so little anymore.


Happy Thanksgiving

This is what my wife and I am thankful for.


Surrounded by Water

Surrounded by Water, Ocean Wave, Ocean, Wave, Splash, Swimmer, Swim

Surrounded by Water. At the ocean, a wave surrounds my son, the swimmer.


Father’s Day

jason, ashley, child, children, father's day

On July 14, 1989 I became a father. (My first, real, Father’s Day.) I didn’t know it at the time, but I had set sail on the happiest journey of my life.
My mom raised me. My parents were married, but it was a bad marriage, so I didn’t have a Dad. When I became one, I was never nervous, worried, insecure or any other negative emotion. I was absolutely confident in my ability to be a Dad. I wasn’t cocky. I simply knew to give my son (and daughter, born January 13, 1995) what I didn’t have. A real Dad. It was that simple for me.
How do I define “a real Dad”? Someone who takes care of their children. Period. Whatever needs to get done, you do it. There are no gender specific job duties. Diapers? Change them. Time to eat? Feed them. Doctor’s appointment? Take them. And on and on and on. (For the record, there is one thing I cannot do – cleanup vomit. It’s my personal kryptonite.)
There are gender differences in how we raise our children. The theory goes, Mothers tend to be more nurturing. Fathers tend to tell their children to “Go for it!” Some will discount that theory, but there ARE going to be gender differences. How can there NOT be? There are also our individual talents. My wife and I employ those different, non-gender, talents in raising our children. When she says, “Go ask your Dad,” or I say the reverse, it isn’t to shirk any responsibility, it’s because the other parent is simply better in those specific situations.
Getting back to those “job duties”, I took my children to daycare. It was onsite at my job at a hospital. It also made “visits to the doctor” very easy. I’d do it during work hours. Would I really hand that job over to my wife because it’s a “mother’s job”? I’m pragmatic, not an idiot.
I’ve always done the food shopping. Being raised by just my Mom, I had to go with her. Then when I got my driver’s license, I drove to the supermarket. That routine has stayed with me. When my children were old enough, they tagged along.
For them, growing up meant that if they asked me to do something and I said “yes”, they knew that I meant it. Questions would concern going to the movies, sleepovers, school sports, vacation, whatever. I wanted them to always trust what I would say. As a Dad I knew not to promise what I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) deliver. There are drawbacks to that approach. For years my son kept asking me to take him to San Francisco. I didn’t want to say “no” and wouldn’t say “yes” to appease him. (We did go.) He also wanted to go to London because my wife and I been there. (We went.) He also asked me to take him to Japan. I told him he’s on his own with that one.
In 1990 I started the tradition of reading, and videotaping, “Twas the Night before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Several years ago when my son was around 23 years old and on a date, he said, “Don’t worry Dad, I’ll be home in time.” Yes, we’re still doing it.
I’ve mentioned my son, but everything above also applies to my daughter. In 1999, because my wife had a job change and couldn’t go on vacation, I went on a Father/Son trip. He was 10 at the time. My daughter was 4. She remembered that and demanded, when she was older, that she’d have a Father/Daughter one. (We did.) Now that my son is (almost) 27 and doesn’t want to go on our family vacations anymore (I agree with his reasoning), I told my daughter, “Well I guess it’s just Mom and me now.” Her answer? “Heck no. You’re not cheating me. I’ve got several more years of going with you.”
As a photographer, I’ve taken millions of photos. I’ve also videotaped a lot. (I recommend that for any parent. My “adult” kids love looking at the photos and videos.)
Naturally not every day was fun. Illnesses, arguments, fights and tantrums are all part of the equation of being a Dad, but there are 3 quotes that answer all questions –
1) “I want to be a Dad just like my Dad,” my son said, when he was around 12.
2) “I love you,” texted my daughter yesterday for no particular reason.
3) And, at my son’s college graduation family dinner I said to him (and this applies to my daughter), “I am very proud of you. You keep me on my toes. I’m always questioning the validity of my advice. And you’ve made my life perfect.”

JayAshl20140813JayAsh


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Gnomes

It’s almost that time!


At the Jersey Shore

children, boy, girl, ocean, beach, vacation

As winter and those freezing temperatures arrive,
I’m thinking about those fund times of going to the
shore with my son and daughter when they were kids.


Grandma & her Grandson

grandmother, grandson

Photograph taken many years ago
of my mother with my son.
He’s not so little anymore.


Father’s Day

children, father's day

On July 14, 1989 I became a father. (My first, real, Father’s Day.) I didn’t know it at the time, but I had set sail on the happiest journey of my life.
My mom raised me. My parents were married, but it was a bad marriage, so I didn’t have a Dad. When I became one, I was never nervous, worried, insecure or any other negative emotion. I was absolutely confident in my ability to be a Dad. I wasn’t cocky. I simply knew to give my son (and daughter, born January 13, 1995) what I didn’t have. A real Dad. It was that simple for me.
How do I define “a real Dad”? Someone who takes care of their children. Period. Whatever needs to get done, you do it. There are no gender specific job duties. Diapers? Change them. Time to eat? Feed them. Doctor’s appointment? Take them. And on and on and on. (For the record, there is one thing I cannot do – cleanup vomit. It’s my personal kryptonite.)
There are gender differences in how we raise our children. The theory goes, Mothers tend to be more nurturing. Fathers tend to tell their children to “Go for it!” Some will discount that theory, but there ARE going to be gender differences. How can there NOT be? There are also our individual talents. My wife and I employ those different, non-gender, talents in raising our children. When she says, “Go ask your Dad,” or I say the reverse, it isn’t to shirk any responsibility, it’s because the other parent is simply better in those specific situations.
Getting back to those “job duties”, I took my children to daycare. It was onsite at my job at a hospital. It also made “visits to the doctor” very easy. I’d do it during work hours. Would I really hand that job over to my wife because it’s a “mother’s job”? I’m pragmatic, not an idiot.
I’ve always done the food shopping. Being raised by just my Mom, I had to go with her. Then when I got my driver’s license, I drove to the supermarket. That routine has stayed with me. When my children were old enough, they tagged along.
For them, growing up meant that if they asked me to do something and I said “yes”, they knew that I meant it. Questions would concern going to the movies, sleepovers, school sports, vacation, whatever. I wanted them to always trust what I would say. As a Dad I knew not to promise what I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) deliver. There are drawbacks to that approach. For years my son kept asking me to take him to San Francisco. I didn’t want to say “no” and wouldn’t say “yes” to appease him. (We did go.) He also wanted to go to London because my wife and I been there. (We went.) He also asked me to take him to Japan. I told him he’s on his own with that one.
In 1990 I started the tradition of reading, and videotaping, “Twas the Night before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Several years ago when my son was around 23 years old and on a date, he said, “Don’t worry Dad, I’ll be home in time.” Yes, we’re still doing it.
I’ve mentioned my son, but everything above also applies to my daughter. In 1999, because my wife had a job change and couldn’t go on vacation, I went on a Father/Son trip. He was 10 at the time. My daughter was 4. She remembered that and demanded, when she was older, that she’d have a Father/Daughter one. (We did.) Now that my son is (almost) 26 and doesn’t want to go on our family vacations anymore (I agree with his reasoning), I told my daughter, “Well I guess it’s just Mom and me now.” Her answer? “Heck no. You’re not cheating me. I’ve got several more years of going with you.”
As a photographer, I’ve taken “zillions” of photos. I’ve also videotaped a lot. (I recommend that for any parent. My “adult” kids love looking at the photos and videos.)
Naturally not every day was fun. Illnesses, arguments, fights and tantrums are all part of the equation of being a Dad, but there are 3 quotes that answer all questions –
1) “I want to be a Dad just like my Dad,” my son said, when he was around 12.
2) “I love you,” texted my daughter yesterday for no particular reason.
3) And, at my son’s college graduation family dinner I said to him (and this applies to my daughter), “I am very proud of you. You keep me on my toes. I’m always questioning the validity of my advice. And you’ve made my life perfect.”

JayAshl20140813JayAsh


The Christmas Potato

Christmas, Tree, Presents, Gifts, Santa Claus

Many years ago when my son Jason was around 5 years old (he’s 30 now), I thought it would be fun to put a single potato under the Christmas tree next to his gifts. The first time I did it, he pretty much ignored it, but that didn’t deter me. The following year I did it again and the year after that. I’m not sure when, but maybe when he was 7 he finally took notice and expressed his displeasure that Santa would leave a single potato for him. My response was to hit him with logic.
“You love french fries, don’t you?” I’d ask.
“Yea…” he’d say.
“So Santa wants to give you something that you enjoy eating along with the toys!”
“Yea, but…”
He didn’t like that explanation.
After another couple of years, I decided to upgrade the single potato to a bag. That’s when Jason would really express his annoyance.
“Not again!” he moan and groan.
He’d immediately grab the bag of potatoes and hand it to me.
“I don’t want them!”
When my daughter eventually joined our Christmas celebration (she’ll be 25 next month), she didn’t show the same annoyance that Jason did. She simply accepted the bag of potatoes as part of the Christmas day.
Then a funny thing happened. A few years ago with Jason and Ashley being older I thought it time to retire the bag of potatoes. I thought that small part of the day had run it’s course so I didn’t put the bag under the tree. When Christmas morning arrived and we all got up to open our gifts, the first thing my daughter asked me (I think she was 17 at the time) was “Dad, where are the potatoes?”
I explained why they weren’t there, that I thought it was time to move on.
“No Dad, it’s not Christmas without the bag of potatoes,” was her answer.
(For the record, Jason was in a neutral corner concerning the affair.)
Well, the following year the bag of potatoes returned along with the smile on Ashley’s face.
Most families have traditions with respect to their Christmas day. Whether it’s how they prepare the meal or watching something special on television or spending the day with certain members of their family. In my house, it the bag of potatoes.
It’s the small stuff that makes the day special.


(My own) Toy Story

toy, toys, robot, barbie doll

It’s almost Christmas time, and I’m watching my toys.
(Just in case they move.)


Christmas Tree

Two Teenagers carry a Christmas Tree.

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us – yes, I did hit the stores at 6 AM but without any real quest for a particular item – it was time to live the Norman Rockwell experience and cut down our Christmas tree. It’s always the first Saturday (or Sunday) in December. The family and I always head over to Pennsylvania where there’s a particular tree farm that we love. I roam the farm for about 20 minutes searching for the right tree. Actually all of them are the right tree, it’s just that I want to “live” the experience for a few minutes. I wait all year for this moment and I don’t want it to end too quickly. After we find the right tree – we buy two, one for the living room and the other one (smaller) is in my daughter’s room – it’s time for our greasy, high-cholesterol, saturated fat and tasty breakfast at a local restaurant. We do what we can to support the local economy.


On Thanksgiving….

Disney-Jason-Ashley-MagicKingdom

…this is what my wife and I am thankful for.


Happy Father’s Day to All

Two-Jason Portrait - child - girl

My 2 best reasons for living.


Merry Christmas…

2013XmasCard

…Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
And let us not forget the Stonehenge Druids (December 21st) –
Happy Shortest Day of the Year!
If I forgot anyone, forgive me.


Amusement Park Ride

Amusement Park Ride

This was my favorite ride when I was a child.
Life was much simpler then.


5 Pumpkins & a Head

pumpkins, pumpkin picking

It’s amazing what you’ll find
when you go out pumpkin picking these days.


Happy Birthday….

J&A-DISNEY2013

…to me.
They asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
My answer, I already have what I want.


A Disney Adventure

Disney world Florida

In 1999 I went on a Father & Son trip to Disneyworld. It was absolutely one of the best times of my life. While walking in Epcot, my son Jason and I stopped in the Moroccan exhibit and for reasons I don’t remember, I took his photo next to the Fez House sign. When I returned in 2003, this time with my wife and daughter, I remembered that moment and took it again. And then again in 2005. And yet again on our most recent trip this year.

I don’t know when I’ll be returning to Disneyworld, as my son is 24 years old now, and traveling with Mom and Dad is getting old for him, but I still hope to add to these photos sometime in the future.

Every visit has been one of the best times of my life.

 

And here is my son and daughter together.

Disney-Jason-Ashley-MagicKingdom


Grandma and her Grandson

grandmother, grandson

Photograph taken many  years ago on assignment.
Still one of my absolute favorites.


Teenage Pandemonium

Sweet-Sixteen, teenage girls, party, celebration

Photograph from a Sweet 16 party.
I accept only 1 or 2 retail assignments a year.
Usually the request comes from a friend or a friend of a friend.
Let me say, photographing a sweet 16 party means, for me,
that I need one full day to recover. It’s exhausting.


Fatherhood and the Act of Letting Go…

Kids at the beach

I awoke this morning knowing that my life would be different evermore.

I was a staff photographer at a hospital for many years with an on-site daycare. I brought my children, first my son, then my daughter, with me to work everyday and dropped them off. And with the convenience of working in a hospital with their pediatrician also being there, any doctor visits were taken care of easily.

When life changed and I became a self-employed photographer, aka “freelancer”, both my children were in either elementary or middle school. During this time I drove them to school in the morning and many times picked them up in the afternoon (depending on jobs). For my son, he graduated high school in 2008 so we parted company then but I continued driving my daughter. During my time with the both of them I could be a royal pain as I was “the happy guy” while they were miserable. A funny moment happened when it was the start of a new school year, and as we rode in the car I commented, “I’ve seen happier faces on corpses.” They actually laughed. Other moments would concern morning traffic. The schools were very close to home, but delays at stop signs were inevitable. I would complain that “the satellites are watching me! There was no traffic a minute ago, but now they’re making me stop!” On one occasion I also drove my son’s friend and when he heard me talk about “the satellites” he told Jason, “Your Dad’s nuts!” I couldn’t stop laughing when Jason told me that.

For the past 5 years it’s just been my daughter and I. I still made jokes but she tended to ignore me more than my son. She also tended to “use” me more than him. When she forgot something, she’d text me asking me to bring whatever she needed. She had a 6th sense knowing when she could forget or would need something on a day that I didn’t have a job. I’d moan about it, but would always drop it off telling the secretary that I was the butler.

This all changed yesterday. My daughter graduated high school. My work as chauffeur to my children has officially ended. When September arrives both of my children will be off in college. My son will be in final year and my daughter will be starting. When I get up in the morning, I will only have myself. I am no longer the alarm clock to their day. This has really been the best time of my life. I really don’t want to let it go.

The photograph above was taken a long time ago at the Jersey Shore.
This is how I will always think of them.


Threesome

Triplets, multiples, babies, portrait

Several years ago I was on assignment photographing multiples.
I thought these triplets were the best.


Perception

Portrait - child - girlTwo-Jason

What a father sees.