mouse over to see the original
1720 West 34th Avenue
This is the house where Dad was born, almost 88 years ago.
As you know, I am finishing Dad's genealogy scrapbook. I had originally planned to just use a small black & white "snapshot" version of this photo, to document Dad's birthplace in a layout about his birth. But as I collected and scanned old photos, I was inexplicably pulled back to this, my own, photo. And then, over the course of a few days, the oft-used phrase humble beginnings kept whispering to me, "use me for a layout about Dad's humble beginnings..."
Oh boy, here we go again: despite my own best intentions, my art tells me what to do and leads me off in a direction I hadn't planned. I have learned to listen.
Dad's story is the classic American Dream. Born of immigrant parents, who, while not dirt-poor, had very little materially. They lived simply and honorably, scrimped and saved every penny...in order to give their son the best that they could offer: faith in God above, loving and devoted parents, a quality education...a good start in life.
Aldo grew up and become a distinguished attorney; he married and raised a family...and with Mom at his side, passed on the values of his parents: he lived simply and honorably, scrimped and saved, giving his children the best that he could offer: faith in God above, loving and devoted parents, a quality education...a good start in life.
When you "mouse over to see the original," you will see the original photograph I took in February, 2005, while on a genealogy research excursion with Dad into what was once called "Little Italy" (also known as Lower North Denver). At Dad's request, I took my camera and drove him around the neighborhood, documenting some of the landmarks of his childhood.
Dad's parents - Greg and Della - rented this little house from Della's mother, Carmela Libonati, who lived in the big house next door; they lived there for a just few short years before eventually moving to a home of their own.
I really had fun photo editing this image. Sure, the subject matter is the house, but the subject itself is fond memories of lives lived, of a bygone era. Not my own, but Dad's. I wanted, above all, to convey a feeling, not just document a place.
I knew I needed to remove or minimize details of contemporary life, so I erased the wires and neutralized the colors; then I applied a couple Rad Lab filters to get that "misty memories" feel. I initially tried simply converting it to black & white, but it didn't convey the emotions I felt. I probably spent most of my time fine-tuning the colors until it felt just right. I did seek help from one of Kim Klassen's inspiring video tutorial "recipes," from her blog. I believe it was entitled "Dream Processing." And of course, because I can never follow any recipe accurately, I changed it up a bit here and there, as Kim herself expects her students to do.
Can't wait to share the scrapbook layout...