4. An Arty Guy's Guide to the Art of Parenting

Dad, Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer.

Should I add “Dad” to the logline of this site?  

Marcel Duchamp liked to make a work of art every day.  It might be dropping a piece of rope and observing the result as the daily work.

I feel annoyed and incomplete if I don’t make some art every day – a photograph, a drawing, some pages in whatever I am writing.

My work comes out of my life, and the most important aspect of my life are my children, Dot and Harry.

Street photography is becoming a dead art form as people on the street object to having their photograph taken (even as a zillion surveillance cameras monitor their every move).  That’s the irony – acceptance of blanket surveillance, but objection to a real human being taking a photograph (a human activity with the modest goal of perhaps a little transcendence).

I often follow Dot around on shopping expeditions, the hapless Dad with a camera.  She’s my beard for taking pictures.  Hey, I’m just a Dad taking some photos of my daughter, that’s why I’ve got the camera to my eye.

Top of my writing agenda is writing the script for a movie I can shoot with Dot and Harry.

I keep a journal of thins my children say and do, and I try to write it down as verbatim as possible.

Here are some quotes:

6.16.07

Harry says sternly in his sleep: "Actually, it's my sister's gun."

6.26.07 (L'Amettla De Mar, Spain)

Dot talking about a dream, a long list of things that she has on videotapes, she puts her finger together to show how small the videotapes are -- then she shows with her fingers the little TV she has in her head to watch videotapes -- she says that it takes one night to make three videotapes.  "I have a little girl in my head and she has a bed and we make movies together and since I'm bigger I do the camera work -- actually the camera's little so she does the camera."

3.6.08

Driving to Disneyland, Harry says (paraphrase): “Daddy, everyone driving these cars was a baby or a child once.”

4.12.08

Driving with Harry to get Wes at airport, listening to “It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).”

Harry says, "He changes the words.  He changes it to 'It's alright Ma, I can make it.'"

I explain why Dylan does that and praise Harry for listening so closely.  Harry replies, "I'm a wise man."

Harry asks why Dylan sings "fire in the sun" and "Takes all her blankets from the floor."  I explain about poetry how it puts an image in your head, what it might mean, how it can mean different things.

Long discussion and rewind CD to play "your lover who just walked out the door has taken all your blankets from the floor.”

Harry: "The desert is wise because it lets you take pictures of it."

10.15.08

Dot: “Why am I me?  Why am I not any animal?  Why am I not any animal?   Why couldn’t I be a tiger?  Why couldn’t I be a cat? Why do I need to be myself?  Why do I have this brain? Why was I born in this family?  Why do I know these things are happening to me that are wrong?  I don’t know if I am going to find them all out but I want to find some of them out before I go.  I want to find out my questions before I'm done.”

8.20.10 (Siena, Italy) 

Harry at the Duomo talking to Italian lady: "If God was real he would come down to earth and say to you: Be happy, enjoy your time on earth, don't ever fight, always be happy!"

Harry say that we wants to have 3 children "but it will be a lot of work."  

10.12.10

Harry, after spilling milk at breakfast: “I hate gravity.  Every time I spill I wish I was in outer space.”

Dot and Harry reading, Cambridge (and a respectful nod to Andre Kertesz for his great photographs of people reading))

Dot and Harry reading, Cambridge (and a respectful nod to Andre Kertesz for his great photographs of people reading))