My father was a lawyer by profession, but over the years he dedicated himself to many other interests. He was an accomplished flautist, ice skater, skier, tennis player, and writer, and he made wonderful, carefully curated CDs of his era of music that he shared with his children. He was also a good photographer. He loved having the latest and best equipment, for tennis, hi-fi, playing the flute, or taking pictures, and he had a Leica camera that he fixed on me and my sister Julia when he took us for outings or vacations. In the pair of framed pictures shown here, on the right, I was three, Julia was five, and I’d just hit her with the bucket I have in my hands. On the left, I was five, and we were on a summer vacation on the Jersey shore. Julia and Christine, our older half sister and Dad’s firstborn child, had dressed me up as a girl.


This is a mate to the photograph of my sister holding her head after I’d conked her with a bucket: they are both times when my father took pictures of us crying instead of coming to comfort us. Is this where I got the idea that it was okay to photograph my own children when they were in distress?

Kelly Nowels