Saturday, October 20, 2012

One guy I know who makes a great dad.
Happy Birthday.

To make a very long, decades-worth, story short, I have a comment on this photo, and life and marriage and children in general. And if you want to call me out and say I'm some self-centered fag who couldn't raise kids, go ahead, and I'll just think of all the people I've met who have kids that they shouldn't have had because they are the result of a snowstorm, or a blackout, or a hurricane, and "what else was there to do but have sex" kids. Got me? Good. This is a photograph of someone I went to college with. We lived on the same floor, and he lived across the hall from the guy who modeled for me all the time (I was a photography major) so that's how I knew this guy. I've thought back to the college years, and I said to myself "I don't know if we ever shared a meal in the dining hall, or even sat next to, or across from each other" during those years, but we definitely didn't have a hate relationship at all. It was "hey, what's up?" and I'm sure a keg party or two. But, sorry to say, I don't have any outstanding memories of the guy in this photo. Some time ago, a fellow resident of the second floor decided that we needed to have a reunion in NYC, and whoever could go, would go. We used each other and Facebook and all that to locate the lost, and find out who was married, had kids, was doing well in their profession, or, in one case, had died prematurely. This guy couldn't make the reunion. He had a great (the GREATEST) excuse: he was living in Italy. WOW. Fuckin' Italy. I'd KILL to leave the good ol' red white and blue behind for the flag of Italy. Yeah, I'd probably leave my family (two brothers, two sisters, four nieces, two nephews, and two living parents) to relocate to Italy. But, my health dictated otherwise. Anyway. I've photographed hundreds of people in 33 years. Families. Brothers. Sisters. Brothers and sisters. The family dog. You name it. And there's always a story to tell. Mostly? There was arguing and fake smiles and "you're gonna get it when you get home" and a mother, father, and kids, all in the same room, and they couldn't "be themselves" and just have a nice family portrait taken. And I'm good. And I'll give you a hint. The smile? It's in the eyes. Not on the pearly white, Ultra-Brite smiles. THOSE ARE FAKE! I've seen professional models whip off hundreds of fabulous smiles because that's what they were paid to do. But it just shocked me, as a photographer's assistant, to see that these smiles weren't because they (the subjects) were happy. They were BEING PAID. So back to this photo. WOW! I picked one of the bunch my buddy has sent me, because I see something in every photo with his son and daughter and dad: they love each other. They have no problems with "physical space" and there's no scowling like "is this over yet?" There's love. I see it in their eyes. And in every picture he sends with him and his son, or him with his daughter, or, even better, a picture someone took of him. HE CLEARLY LOVES LIFE, and is living it to the fullest. You know how I know? Because I worked as an assistant to a very famous portrait, celebrity and fashion photographer, and he photographed me, on many occasions. And he said one thing to me: Bernard, you have the saddest eyes. And you can't smile. And he's right. I know what's behind my facade, my life, and I might have a spontaneous smile here or there, and I've been told I have a great smile, but in front of a camera? Forget it. I can't fake a smile, and my eyes are the windows to my soul, and my soul is wounded. And it won't ever heal. That's another story. So when I see photos of Kevin and Ian and Chiara (KEY-ARE-AH) I just love them. I love them because they renew my faith in family. (Yes, he is a single dad). They renew my faith in the dropped bellies of the women about to give birth right in front of me, and I pray the kid has a great life, and isn't the result of some calamity, natural disaster, or the power being out. Inotherwords: the parents fucked, just because they had nothing better to do, and they didn't use protection and guess what? There's a whole bunch of 9/11 babies out there, and I'd love to interview all of them. They exist just because their parents were fucking stupid while they were fucking. They didn't think of the consequences...and if oops! became "you're pregnant" I'm personally ProLife, but I'm really ProChoice because it's not my body, and I'm gay, and I won't be in that situation. I see very few men, and I'm using that word specifically, who make GREAT fathers, whether married, divorced or whatever. And I think guys who get divorced get the short end of the stick. What about Fathers' Rights? So, happy birthday to my buddy in Italy. I'm jealous. Of where you live, and of the fact that I will never, ever, EVER know what it's like to have a son or a daughter who loves me, unconditionally. Oh, and gS? I see a lot when I look at photographs. Thanks for sending them. They don't bore me at all. Not in the least. Glad we're friends now. What the hell were we doing at Syracuse anyway?

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