I lost a big fan. My mother passed away last month. She had an immense personality, the primary definition of matriarch. She was bright, well-read, a gourmet that transformed to gourmand, a razor-sharp wit, and pithy in comment. She loved a party but often isolated herself in her apartment with books and puzzles to while away the time. She could talk your ear off, anything from politics (we almost always disagreed), to books, to her very accomplished family. She was also a big fan.

As she aged, her words did not carry the weight she desired, so she would deploy “the look”. I’ve received the look many a time, though never with my photography or writing. For some reason she loved many, if not most of my photos. In the beginning I thought this was a “mother” thing, a mother loving everything her son does. After some time, I came to understand she did truly like my photos with their accompanying words.

Her favorite photo of mine happens to be one of my favorites. It is my “Monk and a Serpent”. I had it printed on gold-bond acrylic and sent to her as a gift. She spent hours positioning it throughout her apartment, hanging it here and there until she found the perfect spot. It resided right next to a window with a set of blinds. It was hung in such a way that the light through the blinds mirrored the pattern of lighted incense in the photo, leading from the edge of the window to the edge of the print. I’ll miss that kind of attention to detail.


Then there was the chair. For a little while I really like this photo. I submitted it to all sorts of contests, never doing all that well. I photographed it seven years ago, early on in my photographic journey. I am pretty sure my mom took a liking to it to buoy my confidence. Mothers do that sort of thing. She practically begged me for a framed print which I proudly fulfilled. For a few years, when I visited, I could see it hanging in a prominent spot. Over time it moved to a less conspicuous place. I never commented on its demotion. Nor did she. We both knew how much it helped me.


As mentioned above, she would comment on photos and blogs. She loved the repartee and clever use of words.

There was a time when I was struggling, not sure if blogging would ever become my forte. Then, I got this comment (from DUMBO):

I have been seeing and reading your blogs ever since….
I know you think it’s all about the light, but I think it’s all about your eyes’ ability to find the perfect shot, as well as your ability to write the story. Keep up the good work.

In her own way she was able to comment on my photography, a subtle criticism with a nice pat on the back (from Canyon X).

The photos may be dimmer, but the writing is terrific! — Your Mom

At the end of a year-end summary I asked for some places to photograph. Most people made suggestions of National Parks, waterfalls, and grand vistas. My mother? Not so much. (from Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017)

Have you considered photographing Cabot Park, a beautiful greenery just south (north?) (east?) of Cabot Park Village, in lovely Newtonville MA? There’s a dog park, a volleyball court, a swing set, elders walking. I can’t speak to the alpenglow, but the cars parked at dawn are a breathtaking sight.

Then Kathryn lamented that our lenses were not long enough for adequately photographing birds. She suggested a Christmas present from mom could be in the offing (from A longer lens in our future?).

WHICH “Mom” ?????????

There could only be one. And, she did not get us a new lens.

This time it’s all about the light of life and the loss of my biggest fan. It is with great sadness that I’ll never receive one of her comments again.