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

Posts tagged “son

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


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


Happy Father’s Day to All

Two-Jason Portrait - child - girl

My 2 best reasons for living.


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.


Happy Birthday…

…to my son. His birth is one of the 3 happiest days of my life.


Father’s Day

I didn’t have a father growing up. My parents were married but when I was born, he left leaving my mom to raise my older brothers and I by herself. (And she did a wonderful job.) I knew that when my turn came, I wouldn’t be that man.

I don’t agree with people who believe that mothers are the primary parent. “Parents” are the primary parent. Two. Each with their own talents, abilities and gender-specific traits raise a child. Men who believe that mothers are the main parent use that as an excuse not to be involved with their children. As for the mothers who believe it, they’re trying to be good moms with fathers who…(previous sentence).

Me? I’ve been hands on since day one. And I don’t have to be thanked on Father’s Day because I’m the one who’s thankful that I have them.


Portrait of a Young Man

In 2000, the last year of the 20th Century, I decided to take a photo a day of my son (11 years old at the time). I thought that it would be a fun project with him but there might be some difficulties. Technically this meant shooting one image per day, using one roll of film per month and hoping that I didn’t make any mistakes along the way.  I also decided to shoot B&W film because I could handle the processing myself. The project started out simply – he’d stand against the same white wall everyday, with the date written on a piece of paper, and he’d make a silly face. Eventually I moved away from the wall and photographed him in different locations. As the year progressed I processed the film and put it into print file negative pages. At the end, I brought my “12 months” to a photo lab to make me 16×20 enlarged contact prints. They looked beautiful.
The following year – 2001 – was the start of the 21st Century and this time I photographed my daughter. The process and final product was the same but I shot color film instead. Then in 2005 I returned to the project shooting both my son and daughter together. This time I shot digital, which made it easier. The only difficult part was making sure that I didn’t forget to take a photo, but my kids would always remind me, “Dad, you didn’t take the photo of the day yet!” Digital also made it easier because I could shoot several images and pick the best one. The final product was different though, it was a book instead of a contact print.

Click on the photo (you’ll have to do it twice) to enlarge it for a more detailed view of the days.


Life Moves On

Portrait of a child

My son is entering his junior year in college. What makes it different is that he’s leaving home. While he’s not completely moving out, he’ll return when school is not in session, it is something that I haven’t really been prepared for. His mother, sister and I dropped him off yesterday at his dorm. We helped in move in, moving all his clothes and other items into his room. He has been very excited about this move, but on the day of the event, he was nervous. I am confident that he will acclimate to his new environment quickly and succeed in his studies, but I’m not so sure how long it will take me to accept this new reality. It’s only one day but I am missing him already and it’s going to be a month before I see him again. The longest we’ve ever been apart was a week, when he went away on vacation with his buddies. I guess that I should consider myself lucky that he’s attending an in-state university and he’s only two and half hours away, and I have texting, email and video conferencing to keep in touch, but he’s not under my roof. I can’t just walk into his room and see him sitting on his bed. His education is an investment in his future – both career and family – but the time I have spent with him has been wonderful. I really don’t want it to end.

The photo above was taken on his first day in kindergarten. It is my absolute favorite picture of him.


Twas The Night…..A Family Tradition

In 1990 I started a family tradition of reading “Twas the Night…” on Christmas Eve to my children. I started with my son and my daughter was came onboard in 1995. The videos have been edited to watch them grow.


Happy Birthday to my Son

Life is wonderful with him.


On Being An American on the 4th of July

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain, said it best in his memoir:

“A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy. He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did. When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there was another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open. They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most.”

Happy 4th of July.


Happy Father’s Day – to me

My 2 best reasons for living. And this is when they were cute.


Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom.


Father & Son

In a time long forgotten, that’s a polaroid photo of me on the left. (Yes, it’s a polaroid.) I’m wearing my Civil War jacket, pants, hat and holding a toy rifle. For reasons unknown, my Mom never discarded the jacket part of the outfit. And for more reasons unknown, neither did I. So when my son was born I thought, “Someday when he’s around 8 or 9 years old (my approximate age in the photo), I’m going to have him wear my Civil War jacket and take a picture.” Father & son. Side by side.


My Son

I never tire of looking at his face. (Or his sister’s.)


Italian-American Family

My childhood and teenage years were spent growing up in an Italian-American neighborhood. And when I say “Italian-American” I mean the immigrants who found the courage to move thousands of miles, to leave their homes and everything they knew, to relocate and rebuild their lives in a foreign country. I know that I wouldn’t have the courage to do that.