…scanned from my archive. Tim and Nico go out Midwest – 1974

…scanned from my archive. Tim and Nico go out Midwest – 1974

In 1974 my brothers Tim and Nico took a trip out the Midwest to visit their grandparents. My stepmother Susan was originally from Minnesota but her parents had relocated to Missouri and so the family took off for the heartland. Along the way they stopped for a visit to Mount Rushmore.

I love this shot that my father took. The quintessential snapshot would have typically had my brothers facing the camera, framed from head to toe (because we all know how important it is to include footwear in meaningful family portraits), with the four presidents shrunk to minuscule versions of themselves in the background. My father was a good photographer however and he managed to catch this quizzical pose of my brothers tilting their heads to presumably enhance their viewing of the famous landmark (I must remember to ask them why one of these days).

In a way this kind of photo is more powerful as it forces the viewer to imagine the faces of the two curious boys while adding a bit of humor to the picture and keeping the presidents framed up clearly.

The photo of Tim water skiing on a lake in Missouri was badly faded. Sometimes with older prints, the inks fade at different rates, typically the blues, which leaves the picture with a reddish cast to it. I restored the photo a bit and brought back some of the original color, a little Photshop can go a long way.

I like the portrait of my brothers taken against the side of the house, it reminds me of some of the old WPA photos taken during the Depression by the likes of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange of workers photographed against barns and other structures out in the dust bowl. Probably a stretch considering the difference in attire and circumstances, but photos evoke what they evoke and that’s the beauty of it. More photos here…

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…scanned from my archive. Mom, circa 1928

…scanned from my archive. Mom, circa 1928

…scanned from my archive. Mom, circa 1928. Mom just celebrated her 96th birthday last week. She’s here in LA, a long way from her Brighton Beach, Brooklyn roots, but she is close to her family, especially her grandson, and that is more important to her than geography. These are a couple of photos taken in her father’s photo studio which was located on the first floor of the apartment building she grew up in. The entrance to the building was on Brighton 4th street, but my grandfather’s studio was entered to directly from the Coney Island Boardwalk, just a hop, skip and a jump from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The studio awning prominently displayed its name - Boris Lenoff’s Photo Portrait Studio, and all family members were at one point or another required to pose for their picture.

My mom had her eye scratched when she was very young and was virtually blind in that eye all her life as a result. Now she has macular degeneration and is losing sight in her other eye. She can’t read anymore, so she listens to mystery novel after mystery novel sent to her by the Braille Institute,  a truly amazing organization. Her spirits are high and her mind is sharp and I can only hope I am in half the shape she is if I am ever lucky enough to be a nonagenarian. More photos here…

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