Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Dad's Photography Gets Published

Last year, in an effort to digitally preserve the Kodachrome slides in storage at our family's homes, we purchased a dual-bed scanner. I scanned some slides and uploaded them to Flickr. A couple of weeks later, I got an e-mail from an author interested in using a couple of slides for a book about the history of snapshot photography in America. One thing led to another, and now four of my dad's photos can now be seen in Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America.

Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America. (09/18/2008)
Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America. (09/18/2008)

My copy of the 240-page, hardcover book arrived today, and it's gorgeous! The book tells the story of America through snapshots taken by amateur photographers from the 1890s through the early 1970s. My dad's photos appear in the chapter about Kodachrome slides.

The pages with my dad's snapshots. (09/18/2008)
The pages with my dad's snapshots. (09/18/2008)

According to the year printed on the slides, the photos were taken in 1962. The photo subjects were my cousins Albert, Lupe, David and Pete, who at the time, were living in Davenport, near Santa Cruz. You can check out the full slide set here.

Alberto. (03/1962)
Alberto. (03/1962)

When I first scanned these slides, I remember finding it funny to see pictures of my cousins so young. I remember them being much older than me (David, the baby in the picture, was seven years older than me and used to tease me a lot as a kid). Lupe, the girl in the photo, had kids who were not too much younger than me. I don't think I ever met Pete, because he died in an accident before I was born, or shortly thereafter.

Lupe. (03/1962)
Lupe. (03/1962)

Those pictures of them look great in print. The authors — Michael Williams, Richard Cahan and Nicholas Osborn — kindly sent signed copies of the book to both my dad, and to my cousins' mom, my Aunt Amelia. My dad was delighted to receive it, and so was my aunt.

My cousin David. (03/1962)
My cousin David. (03/1962)

But as much as I was fascinated by seeing our old family slides, I was equally fascinated by many of the other old family photos in the book. For example, I loved the series of photos showing people in front of houses they built to qualify for the Homestead Act, which offered 160 acres of free land to people who lived on the land for five years. The houses are shacks by today's standards, but you can see the pride in their faces.

Pete. (03/1962)
Pete. (03/1962)

I also loved the amateur photographer in Elgin, Illinois who sought to record the history of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking at least two dozen color photos of his black & white TV screen as he watched coverage of the days following the shooting. I also had no idea until I received the book that Apollo 16 astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr. actually left a snapshot of his family on the surface of the moon during a 1972 lunar landing. Fascinating stuff.

This one of Paul didn't make the book, but I'll still post it here. (03/1962)
This one of Paul didn't make the book, but I'll still post it here. (03/1962)

If you're interested in getting a copy of this book, you can order it here. If you order it through this alternate site, you'll receive a deluxe edition which will be signed and will include a genuine vintage snapshot considered for the book (the snapshot I received, acccording to the writing on the back, was of Helen & Bob Boehm, of Los Altos, CA, on their 30th wedding anniversary in 1978).

Signed by the authors, complete with an original photo. (09/18/2008)
Signed by the authors, complete with an original photo. (09/18/2008)

Congratulations dad on getting published! If you want to see more of my dad's slides, check out the complete collection.

2 comments:

beastandbean said...

How awesome!! I loved those pics the first time I saw them and now to see them in print is even cooler!! Also was kinda mesmerized by those Kennedy pics that dude took...so cool and creepy. They almost had a Lynchian quality to them...wow!

Congrats again to both you and your Dad for all the hard work, that is really exciting!!

Ryan said...

Wow, these pictures your dad took are beautiful. The color is gorgeous, I wanna marry that baby blue! What a really neat project, congratulations!