Friday, July 3, 2015: Honoring a Father File

by ag

(Click on image to enlarge.)

My father was a purchasing agent for a manufacturing company and when I was young, he would sometimes take me to the factories of his suppliers. There I entered a world unlike anything I ever experienced at home, in school, or during family vacations. Years later, as a freelance photographer specializing in editorial assignments for major corporations and magazines, I worked in similar environments portraying the machinery, industrial processes, laboratories, and labor that produce the stuff of daily life — everything from computers, steel, paper, and monoclonal antibodies to bread and mayonnaise. My subjects never ceased to fascinate, nor did I lose the sense of privilege that comes from photographing subjects that the public rarely gets to see. Two decades must have passed though before I connected what was happening in my professional career to those wondrous childhood visits to Dad’s vendors.

I mention all this because my father, who died in 1992, would have been 108 today. And just yesterday, I found the ring he always wore — which I thought was lost forever after moving to my new apartment in the fall. It was at the bottom of a recycled, padded envelope I had put some tools and wire in, which I used last week while working on an art project. I’ve been wearing the ring all day, marveling at what a special gift it was to show up when it did and not some other time. I had forgotten that the band is inscribed on the inside surface with each of my parent’s names.

So — a very happy birthday, Dad, and thank you for those weekend trips you took me on. Did you have any inkling then how they would play out in the future?