A few weeks ago we had some friends over for a music night. We invite friends who play various musical instruments and play anything from rock to bluegrass to pretty much anything. This time we invited one of my colleagues - he plays the banjo and his wife plays the violin. Daniella (who has been playing the piano for the past 3 years) became so fascinated with the violin that she immediately asked for lessons. This is us renting Daniella's first violin.
A few weeks ago Sophia started taking piano lessons and she has been incredibly excited. For a five-year-old, she is really tenacious - she sits down at the piano without any reminders and practices on her own every day.
Well, we refer to the whale watching excursion as "THE EXPERIENCE". We kind of saw a few blue humpback whales (mostly their flukes), but the sea was incredibly rough and we all were seasick and really cold.
As a general rule I don't post too many personal things on my business blog - I keep a separate blog for my personal projects/photography. However, these photos mean a great deal to me. My grandmother is 94 years old; she survived World War II, Stalin's repressions, a decade of life near the Arctic circle, and immigration to the United States. She is one of the most important people in my life. Unfortunately, because my grandmother lives in Norfolk, VA, I can only visit her 3-4 times a year. Every time I visit, when I say goodbye, it always feels like I'm saying goodbye for the last time. Every time I visit, we have the same argument about photography - she hates being photographed and I try to document every memory. These photographs are from my most recent visit - May 9, 2015 (which is coincidentally the day when World War II ended). Hopefully I'll have many more moments with my grandma.
I'm like the proverbial shoemaker without shoes. I spend my time documenting other families' lives, but rarely do I have the opportunity to photograph my own family. This is one of those rare times when everything came together - weather, free time, hanging out with the family, and having a camera in my hand.
My grandmother Olga is 93 years old, soon to be 94. She is an amazing woman and one of the most important people in my life. Even though I talk to her on the phone about 3 times a week, I only get to see her 2-3 times a year. Every time I take the drive from Pittsburgh to Norfolk, I promise myself that I will take a ton of photos of her; when I get to Norfolk I get caught up in shuttling my kids between my mom and my dad, doing family things and essentially not taking any photos of my grandmother. This time I actually managed to stick with my intentions and over the last week I shot over a thousand digital frames of my grandmother and 4 rolls of film. About half of the photos below were shot with a Canon 5D Mark III and processed with VSCO presets. The rest were shot on Kodak 400 CN pushed to 800.
My maternal grandfather passed away in 1998; he spent 11 years of his life in Soviet labor camps and I spent the past 15 years researching his life and trying to find out what happened with his family. In doing that, I completely neglected the other side of my family.
A few days ago I sat down with Daniella (my older daughter) to show her the contents of my keepsake box. As I opened the box, I came across a ziplock bag full of Soviet-era medals. I completely forgot that I even had these medals in my possession - my paternal grandmother gave them to me before moving to a nursing home in 2011. My paternal grandfather - David - passed away when I was 5 years old, and I have very few memories of him. Seeing these medals and explaining what they are and what they mean to Daniella made me feel terribly guilty about knowing virtually nothing about my grandfather David's life.
Given my grandmother's mental state I have a very short window of opportunity to find out as much as I can about my grandfather. I guess I know what I'm doing over Thanksgiving holidays.
A few photos from today's trip to Soergel Orchards in Wexford. They brought in an antique fire truck and the kids had a blast climbing all over it for about two hours. I used this trip as an opportunity to shoot a few rolls of film. The ones in this post were shot on Fuji Reala 100.