photo of the month
from randy kato

click the image for a larger view


This month's photo is about memories.

I guess every photo is about a memory somehow: an instant in time, captured. But this one takes that idea much deeper.

The image looks old, like something dug out of a dusty old cobwebbed cigar box from an attic somewhere...old enough that the person in it would no longer be with us. While that last part is true, the photo is only about 15 years old.

Its aged appearance stems from the use of (probably expired and poorly stored) black & white film shot through an old Leica rangefinder that used to belong to my dad. The materials, the equipment and the technique were all from another time, and the subject using an old pick axe just adds to the illusion.

The subject is my late friend Martin in the first stages of building a sweat lodge out on a frozen lake in the Adirondacks. While the trip we were on when we did this was chock full of wonderful memories, it's something else about this picture that struck me (no pun intended).

Martin, in this scene, especially the way it looks like it occurred several decades ago, could easily be my dad on a different frozen lake on a different side of the country. Dad is no longer with us, and while I don't have this specific memory of him (I wouldn't have been born yet), I can imagine discovering a photo just like it and having my uncles describe vivid memories of some adventure they took, maybe to try ice fishing in the Sierras or something.

When people leave us, all we're left with is memories. But often those are the best parts.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." – Dr. Seuss


Photo of the Month archive