As many of our friends know, 2013 was an extraordinarily difficult year for Jeff and I.  We lost my father and Jeff’s step-father in January, and if that weren’t enough, both of our businesses had experienced a slowdown.


John Sklenak on Photo Shoot. Photo by Debbie Dineen.

But from another perspective, it was a start of a new adventure. My father, John Sklenak, was an advanced amateur photographer who had been gaining local recognition through numerous awards and exhibits. Before my father passed, he asked us to keep his work alive ( Little did we realize what this really meant (or what he really meant), but we were soon to find out. Unbeknownst to us, Dad had been accepted and had committed to participating in several photography exhibits.  The wheel had been set in motion. I wanted to honor my father and his request, I couldn’t say no.

But wait, I’ve never done an exhibit before… where was my father when I needed him?

Alas, we discovered how to put together an exhibit – as we were putting together the exhibit. It was “on the job” training. Our first exhibit of Dad’s work was at the prestigious Wellesley Free Library in March.

Something else was set in motion during this time. Not only did Jeff and I want to honor my father and his work, but our own interest in photography was ignited into a passion.

We went on to do two joint exhibits, Sweet Light Photos with Blue Heron Studios, an exhibit of our own, two art shows and a juried craft fair.


Jeff and Kas at Weston Library Exhibit, July, 2013

We went on to enter Dad’s photos in local contests, and began entering our own work. Through the year we entered over 25 different photography contests and were recognized in at least 6 (still waiting to hear on a few we entered in December).  Dad’s work was recognized as well.

As you know we created our website,, built our portfolio,  wrote over 30 blog articles ( ) and published 8 newsletters. We thank all those who have followed us on our photography adventures…. We enjoy you comments…. Keep them coming.

Looking back over the year, I realize that all that we have accomplished with Sweet Light Photos would not have happened if my Dad were still with us.  In his passing, he passed on to us his passion for photography and the gift of so many new experiences.

I feel that I am no longer making a separate effort to ensure my Dad and his work are being recognized, but rather that his love for photography and his passion for his craft have been born anew in me. I will honor him by stepping into his shoes and walking with his spirit into the future.

Won’t you join me?