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June 08, 2008


Fred Bell

I think one of the differences is that the photo seems less contrived, it seems more honest. A painting like this is just sentimental and commercial. I am aware that a photo, at that time, took a lot of setting up and preparation. Anyway, that's how it comes off to me.


Another thing ... There is nothing in this picture that is similar to my own childhood (which I spent in the inner city), but for some reason it sets me off thinking about the usual stuff ... simpler times, carefree afternoons at a lake, and so on. A painting would never have that effect on me.

I think it's related to another phenomenon. I recently purchased the ship's log that recorded my father's arrival at Ellis Island, and I have pictures of him working as a young boy, and I have pictures of him at his high school graduation. I would rank them in that order, from best to least -- ship's log, working, graduating.


The camera ever lies.


Good chance he became part of the landscape in Europe -1918, or succumbed to the Spanish Flu. Not a particularly auspicious time to have been a child (coincidentally, this kid was likely born about the same time as my own father --1900).

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