Sunday, June 20, 2010

Found Family

Last year on Father's Day Josh and I were in Oakland, and my family was in Southern California. I felt a bit amiss. As you may know, it can be difficult to travel for every occasion and sometimes it's necessary to enjoy loved ones from a distance.

On that day Josh and I had company of our own, and we took them to one of our favorite junk / treasure shops in Berkeley. It was there that I spotted this photograph, tossed into a stack of torn and yellowing papers. Happy.

Though I wasn't looking at a photograph of my own family, on that day the sight of these people captured so simply, so sweetly, made me feel closer to my own family. I assume the photograph is of a father and his daughters, but of course I can't be sure. I can't help but wonder how a photo such as this found its way into my hands, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. When stories end with a curbside drop-off at the junk shop, my heart longs to know more about beginnings and middles.

Photographers play an interesting role in family and circles of friends, and beyond the click of the shutter, our photographs enter uncontrollably into the world. Some end up framed on walls, others in albums, envelopes or storage boxes. Some become pierced with push-pins or sticky with tape, and others rest flat and peacefully protected.

After my morning coffee I decided to go through a box of my own yellowing and torn papers, and re-discovered this photo. Happy, once again, though for many more reasons. Today on Father's Day I am in Southern California, together with my family. I will be shooting a portrait of my Father, my brothers, and their children after lunch, and I can only hope to create a photograph as spirited as that of my Found Family.

I hope you all find a piece of happiness today, father or not, together or not, you and this day.


  1. Great story, photo find, and I"m excited it helped inspire you to do a family portrait. You just inspired me to do the same with my family this upcoming 4th of July, so I guess the photo's history keeps progressing :) Thanks for sharing Jen!

  2. Ah, what a lovely post. I need to dig through my old family photos now. Sounds like you had a very special Father's Day :) xo

  3. Thanks for sharing your Comments!

  4. Having lost my father in 2003 I have only to look at a few treasured photos to remind me of simpler and better times.
    On another note.....what is the name of this favorite junk shop you mentioned, being a local girl I want to check it out.

  5. Urban Ore in Berkeley - you never know what you'll find, but you can usually find something. Have you been there?