I’m tired this week.  I’ve had a pretty busy week, with two photoshoots (that kind of turned into three, since one got rained out halfway through and had to be rescheduled for the following morning), not to mention my day job and my dad job, which included Disney World this week.  It’s been a lot of ‘waking up early and going to bed late’.  I must be getting old because it’s starting to catch up with me.  I’ve had two sunrise photoshoots that required me on location at 7am, which really means I’m at location at 6:30, and one of my location jobs was on Sanibel Island, which is a near 2 hour drive from my house.

I’m not complaining, though.  It may have been busy, but it was a good kind of busy (although, waking up at 4am when you didn’t get home from Disney until midnight the night before wasn’t necessarily fun) and my shoots were so different and yet so enjoyable.  I got to work with a young couple getting their senior shots together, and they were such a joy to work with…and then I got to work with an adorable little family who has many memories woven into Sanibel Island.  Not only were they married there, but they renewed their vows there and felt a special connection to its beautiful shores.

Look for full portfolios for both these shoots later in the week!

3 Men and a Baby

So, this week I was invited to join a special Instagram Hub called ClickinDads.  The hub was devised by photographer Mark Hamilton as a place for dads to shine, and I’ve been a follower of this hub for a while now and have a special connection to it, being a pretty hands on dad myself.  My children are my world, and to be given the honor of lending my voice to this hub, as well as aiding other likeminded fathers in doing the same; well it means a lot.

I’m joined by Sven Bergen, a tremendous photographer from Dresden, East Germany, as well as founder Mark Hamilton.  The three of us offer very different perspectives when it comes to our photographic talents and tastes, and I think that makes for a really well-rounded and exciting team.

Check out their Instagram feeds (linked above) and be sure to follow us on the ClickinDads Hub!

I’ve also written a guest post for the ClickinDads Website, which you can read here.  It covers my creative process with regards to the graffiti pictures I posted last week.  Head on over and check it out!

And since we’re talking about fathers and I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a very…cinematic kind of person, I threw together five of my favorite movies about fathers.  I highly recommend these movies.  They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, they’ll make you think and they’ll make your night a great one!

I’m talking about the original, Spencer Tracy classic…NOT the 1991 remake with Steve Martin.  I like the remake, I do, but it pales by a LARGE margin when stacked up against the original.  Vincent Minnelli was one of the greatest directors of his time, but he’s mostly known for his more theatrical work (Gigi, An American in Paris, Some Came Running).  For me, his softer, more subtle work is his strongest, and in my eyes Father of the Bride is his masterwork.  It’s subtly funny, completely charming and brilliant in its honesty.  Spencer Tracy delivers his finest performance (yes, I’m serious) with a turn that reaches right to the heart of what fatherhood means; and that final scene…the aftermath of the wedding surrounding him…is a sock to the gut.  With a supporting cast that contains the luminous Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Bennett delivering ‘supportive wife’ in the absolute best way (where was her Oscar nomination?), this is a beautiful film that needs to be re-discovered!

Pixar’s finest moment, to this date, is Finding Nemo.  It’s also possibly its most important (Inside Out challenges this one, though).  Believing in your children is such a key to their growth, but believing in them has to be coupled with allowing them to spread their wings; which is so hard for parents to do.  We are programmed to smother them with protection because we don’t want anything to hurt them, but that smothering can actually do the hurting itself.  The themes in Finding Nemo of loss, abandonment, support and unwavering love are beautifully captured and ever-reaching, and the message to parents of children with special needs is so rich and encouraging.  Our children are our future and we must believe and encourage that future to be as bright as possible!

I’m not going to lie, this movie is devastating.  That being said, it is tremendous.  Elia Kazan, best known for his work with acting juggernaut Marlon Brando, debuted into the cinematic world with this tender, heartbreaker of a film telling the story of a young girl and her alcoholic father.  James Dunn, who won an Oscar, delivers one of the most charismatic and brutally honest screen portrayals and absolutely anchors this film as one of cinema’s finest.  His performance has to be perfect, otherwise so many of this film’s themes would have been lost.  He nails it.  The way he balances his character’s clear substance abuse issues with his genuine heart and soul is flawless.  The entire ensemble is aces, with Dorothy McGuire matching him every step as his suffering wife and young Peggy Ann Garner striking such believable chemistry with Dunn, who plays her on-screen father.  The inevitable will break your heart, but there is no denying that this father loves his children and this little girl idolizes the flawed man who gave her life.

I’m cheating a little bit here, but I don’t care.  The Tramp may not ‘technically’ be a father in this film, but the sentiment is the same.  While Chaplin may have delivered more memorable spectacles like City Lights and Modern Times, the heart of The Kid is by far the most moving.  This story of a man who cares for and bonds with a young orphan is not only charming but wholly uplifting in its ability to lace honest emotion with such flawless charisma.  Jackie Coogan (yes, Uncle Fester!) is a perfect match for Chaplin, delivering such a sharp performance that helps create a dynamic pairing.  At the film’s core is the story of home, and the power to create home out of genuine love.  The film is described as ‘a comedy with a smile, and perhaps a tear’ and that perfectly sums up this movie; and why you should see it.

This film has a special place in my heart.  I just love it SO much.  It’s a touch crass and bends so many rules when you consider the context of the film (this is a father-daughter bonding film in the purest sense) but it works marvelously.  It works, in large part, thanks to the perfect casting of Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum (who won the Oscar for her brilliant turn).  This is a sharply written and directed comedy (Bogdanovich was genius) that cuts like a knife with its portrayal of a wayward bachelor who discovers he has responsibility he never knew he wanted and a rebellious young girl who discovers she has roots she never knew she needed.  Be prepared to laugh, to cringe, to blush, to smile and to cry your eyes out.

The Last Picture Show

As you just bore witness to; I’m a pretty massive cinephile.  I absolutely love film, and have since I was a very young child.  Sitting around watching the classic musicals with my father or the classic Hitchcock’s with my mother; those are memories and moments that shaped the person I am today and the connection I feel to the big screen.

If I could describe my perfect day, it would most certainly include TCM.

As a child, I remember the first time I rode The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s then MGM Studios.  I can still feel the chills when the alien from Alien came at me from the ceiling.  I can still feel the wonder and awe as we pulled into Oz.  I can still feel the excitement run over my skin as our tour through the movies was interrupted by a gangster and that said gangster was then…well…disposed of.  Narrated by the late Robert Osborne, The Great Movie Ride was a staple of my Disney vacations as a child and a shot of pure nostalgia that I indulged in every time I went back.  Even now, as an adult, I still felt that warmth of comfort as I took my family on that very familiar trip through the movies.

This past Friday I took that trip for the last time.

While I can objectively understand that the ride was…sadly…outdated and in serious need of revamping, I can’t say that I support what Disney is doing (in case you are out of the loop, the ride is officially closed as of yesterday and is being replaced by a Mickey/Minnie ride through the cartoons).  Polishing up the ride, adding new segments and inserting newer, more exciting elements, would have been a better way to go.

I say better…and I guess I mean more appealing (to me) because I understand why they are doing what they are doing, but it saddens me that their decision makes sense.  I can’t help but think of Martin Scorsese’s very vocal support of film preservation and restoration because the love of the classics is clearly lost amongst the majority of today’s youth.  Despite their pretense of loving all things vintage and ‘cool’, they wear tees sporting movies they’ve never seen and talk about James Dean and Marilyn Monroe as if their celebrity was all that deserves to be remembered.

Watch Marilyn in Some Like it Hot or Niagara or her searing portrayal in The Misfits and then wear her image on your shirt.  Watch all three of James Dean’s movies (yes, he only made three) and then talk about him as being the personification of cool.  KNOW their work because that is why they should be remembered.

That’s why I feel like rides like The Great Movie Ride are so important.  As a kid, they opened my eyes to something more than just what was readily available, and that influence carried on into my adulthood, and is something I want to instill in my children.

I’m saddened that I’ve taken my last ride; but I know that the ride lives on in the movies that inspired it.

I’ll leave you with my playlist for the week.  Since I’ve been talking about classic films a lot today, I figured I’d feature cover songs on my playlist this week.  These aren’t all ‘classic songs’ being covered, but they are my favorite covers of the year so far.  I hope you enjoy!

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