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For my Mother & Father  ~ R.I.P. 1/13/2009, 1/18/2009
For my Mother & Father ~ R.I.P. 1/13/2009, 1/18/2009

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2009-01 (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: Challenges
Camera: Canon EOS-20D
Lens: Lensbaby 3G
Location: Harwich Port, MA
Date: Jan 13, 2009
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/320
Galleries: Emotive, Lensbaby
Date Uploaded: Jan 17, 2009

Lensbaby, Topaz for detail, some local cloning for distractions (a small bird feeder, a couple hot spots on the house siding), hue/sat, vignette, save for web


I was driving down the main street in Harwich Port, glanced down a side street I had never traveled, and saw this scene at a distance. I felt an inexplicable pang of melancholy as I glimpsed it, and after a couple blocks I pulled a U-turn, went back to the side street, parked, and made this shot. I was thinking how lonely the chairs looked, how strange the foliage looked, I was wondering when someone would return to sit in the chairs.

Later that day, I received from my sister the message that my father had passed that morning, at 7:04 AM Pacific time. A few days later, as I was processing this image, I noticed in the EXIF that it was captured at 10:06 Eastern time, a couple minutes after my father left us.

Meaning that my first glimpse of the scene, and my pang of melancholy, occurred more or less exactly as his last breath left him. And then, of course, my mother passed a few days after THAT, and I have two chairs here, so...

This is my memorial for them. I'll miss them.


The "dizziness" on which so many people have commented is absolutely intentional, I wanted a sort of twilight-zone sense of being sucked away, or of viewing through a rapidly receding tunnel. I'm sorry as can be that this met with such broad disapproval :-(

Place: 202 out of 454
Avg (all users): 5.6329
Avg (commenters): 7.2727
Avg (participants): 5.5048
Avg (non-participants): 5.8868
Views since voting: 1023
Views during voting: 248
Votes: 158
Comments: 19
Favorites: 6 (view)

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04/23/2009 03:33:16 PM
Bear - The story behind this shot is somber and haunting, the coincidence is just crazy, and I am so sorry for your losses and especially their proximity to one another.

It is peculiar, indeed, how life can work out. In my own shot of my father, it was literally the last picture on the memory card from the day and the last picture I ever took of him, and he died hunting in the same place where the photo was taken a month later. I don't know if it is the same for you, but the strangeness in the coincidences is somehow comforting, kinda makes me think about fate, though I admit I may just be searching for and pulling out meaning where none exists.

In any case, I like your photograph, the dizziness, the mood, all that. A great photo to be your 'most meaningful'.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
04/22/2009 12:47:17 PM
The dizzyness is what works. the brown hydrangeas, the empty chairs, and the bleakness of the ground make it powerful--of course knowing the entire back story makes it more so. thanks for sharing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
04/22/2009 12:08:32 PM
Mighty powerful stuff there, Robert.
The photo all by itself speaks volumes, and immediately "grabbed" me.
The photo's story adds even more impact.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/09/2009 05:52:36 PM
I like the blurred effect you put into the perimeter of your image here, works well, maybe a bit better if the main subject(s) were sharper, but Im not sure. The photo does have a mood that you helped emanate with your processing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/08/2009 03:45:04 PM
You know I like this shot and what it symbolizes. And I think based on your commenter average (and the comments themselves) that a great deal of the viewers DID appreciate this, and the method behind the creation. I wouldn't say it met with broad disapproval. On the contrary, I think it is shots just like this one, and maybe especially this one, that cause some to linger a bit longer, to take in the effect and why it works. There will always be those who prefer tack sharp - and there's nothing wrong with that. But you've maybe grabbed one or two who otherwise would have sped by and who will now take a bit longer look at the next Lensbaby or motion blur photograph they come upon. And that, my friend, is a good thing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/08/2009 03:00:09 PM
Yeah, lensbaby put to good use. The chairs have almost a human quality -- they are so 'together'. They are empty, but somehow alive in their emptiness. Beautiful and poignant shot.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/08/2009 12:45:51 AM
Very fitting tribute. I love the processing too, it fits with the mood somehow. This was one of my highest scores in this FS.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
02/07/2009 11:31:38 PM
This one makes me dizzy. Not sure if it's me, but the effect does not help the total experience/in fully enjoying the photo.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/07/2009 06:09:04 PM
What a lovely tribute at such a difficult time for you.
I'm sure in the summer months you will be able to picture them both sat there chatting away:-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/07/2009 06:03:46 PM
Very emotive, even before I read the title. Reminds me of my grandfather, who always sat in a rocker on his front porch greeting everyone who passed, and was known as the Mayor of Como Avenue. His chair is long since emptied, too.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/07/2009 05:22:51 PM
Great scene for an LB...but it's the whites, golds and browns that rock this photo. Nicely done, and I'm sorry for the loss of your parents!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/07/2009 05:41:26 AM
A lovely image that encapsulates both a sense of loss, and of memories remembered. Tender, sympathetic, sad but also very lovely. A very fitting tribute to your parents; I hope the crafting of it helped, in some small way, to steer you through this difficult time.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 02:53:31 PM
a photo with an incredible sadness and an incredible beauty. what I could add here? nothing, absolutely nothing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 12:30:47 PM
makes me sort of dizzy, colorful, I can't decide if I like the blur or not.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 12:30:16 PM
personally I dont like the blurring effect on the edges..
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 10:22:09 AM
Bless them. I hope that they are together on some different level. Perfect use of the LB. :~)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 09:36:18 AM
Sorry to hear. How sad. Soft focus is very intruiging.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 07:33:18 AM
Such a poignant message and a great photo.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/01/2009 12:32:37 AM
Cool shot Robert, and from the heart...
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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