I am a photographic undertaker

Quiet in death, ca. 1930s

This is one of the many photos I have been restoring over the past year.  This is the daughter of a family friend named Lydia Penner.  Beyond the name on the back of the photo, nothing is known of her.



During our brief visit to the Basilique Saints-Nazaire-et-Celse, the former cathedral in the old walled city of Carcassonne, France, a quintet of Russian men powerfully sang some Russian Orthodox church music, hoping to sell some of their CDs.   The sound in that Gothic sanctuary was simply awesome.  Without exception, everybody stopped and listened, lost in their own thoughts, in the mysterious darkness of the basilica.  

Great-Grandfather's Estate

This photo was nearly destroyed in certain sections.  I had to rebuild eyes, faces, replace walls and clothing.  I'm a complete novice with Photoshop, so I don't know if I did this efficiently or could have saved a load of time by taking a course (or reading a book!).

This is my great-grandfather's estate in Russia.  On the estate was the village school.  My grandfather is on the right, above the teacher's left shoulder.  This is one of two photos we have of my grandfather as a very young child.  I only knew him as (what I perceived as a child) an old man - which he was. By the time I was 10 years old, he was over 80.

The gene pool represented here is typical of Mennonites in Russia.  I can see facial similarities between many of these children and students I have taught.  In fact, the young girl in the middle (with the plaid dress - third row from the top) looks as if she could be the sister of a friend of mine.


The Dead Are With Us

I've been editing and preserving photos of my extended family.  Many of the photos are austere both in context and emotion.  This, I'm told, was typical in Russia.  Even in Canada this sombre countenance was rarely lifted for photographs.  On the right is my Uncle Henry who died before his 23rd birthday.  The other two people were never identified by my mother and while they are forgotten in name, they live on in my memory.





Vase No. 1

Vancouver is hopelessly gray today, with more heavy rain predicted. Officials wring their hands as they watch the snow for the winter Olympics melt down to brown earth. Our little church gave us this vase in memory of Dad. Rendering it in black and white seemed appropriate today.