Why do we care about the things we care about? Why do we remember the things we remember? These are the questions I've been asking myself while tripping down memory lane with the 1,200 film negatives I recently scanned.

There are, of course, lots of reasons but a memory or image may stick with us when it tells a story. Such is the case with this image from a wedding reception I photographed 50 years ago.


I can totally relate to the boy's feelings based on his expression and posture. He appears to be bored or lonely or tipsy or (most likely) all three. The adults have stranded him at the table. After drinking his Coca Cola, he's now finishing off the grown-up's champagne. Weirdly, there is a plastic bag with a dozen-or-so pills next to his mom's purse (probably just vitamins but this was the early 70's. ;-) The no-frills vase with a single scraggly (what is that?) flower looks almost as forlorn as the boy. The ash tray puts this scene in a different time and place.

Now, viewing these images for the first time in ages, I'm pleasantly surprised to see myself – a photographer I recognize with a similar vision and aesthetic. During those first years, no subject was off limits and the rule-makers weren’t yet whispering in my ear. If asked, I would have said I was photographing whatever “caught my eye” but even then, decades ago, without knowing it, I had preferences – friends, family, home, school, street scenes, people living their lives, telling stories – enduring preferences that still guide me today.

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