Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome: Newest Mother-Daughter Press Photographer-- John Feldhahn-- my grandfather

This path and gate lead forward and backward for me.  Sometimes I have heard something 1000 times but only on the 1001st time do I understand and take in what is important. Some paths are impossible to predict.  Who would have put me here looking at photos, family photos, and being touched as an artist and a daughter and mother.

My mother told me about her parents. That they were artists among their regular lives. My grandmother went to Parsons school of design -- enabled by the men in her life.  My grandfather loved photography. I heard this many times and I remember him with a camera and trying to catch us all in photogenic moments. But none of this prepared me for the day, about a month ago, when I opened up the boxes of photos she saved of his slides. They were beautifully filed, labeled, and even had compelling names on them such as "my 50 favorite pictures".  [Note to all mortal photographers-- this is one way to make your work live]. 

I fell into 3 days of breathtaking photos of people I knew including myself, my family, and complete strangers. So, as we have been selecting photographers to work with Mother-Daughter Press I want to welcome John Feldhahn and share just a couple of photos of his.  John's family came from Germany and he was born in Nebraska to a family that joined the Church of Latter day Saints. His mother Anke was a seer, a prophet, and woman not to be trifled with.  John went to Pharmacy school and met Madeline Crick at college.

The gate shown in the first photo was made by Madelines father -- Mr. Crick at his foundry in Independence Missouri. Much of the wrought iron work in their yard came from the foundry.

Until recently however, this one below was the only photograph of Johns I knew well.

It is Gay's wedding day. He has set the stage for this photograph. Each detail carefully thought out. She is very happy and wearing yards of blue silk. He places a photograph of her husband to be in a frame behind her and one of her mothers wedding in the other picture. He asks her to hold a mirror and look towards it. She wants to hide her hands, the ones whose nails she nibbled and a febrile illness had rendered unlovely to her.   They practice many shots but this is the one they like best.
The care and attention to detail are part of what make this photograph so beautiful. The model is gorgeous and the connection of photographer to subject-- uncommon and good.

Gay later worked some of his photos in with hers luckily, the same garden he photographed stayed in the family and my aunt Lois worked in it and made it even more lovely so we have over 60 years of one garden in photos.  Gay took his intital slide and then added in elements of Lois' garden and her own too. In this picture, that is her bird, his bird bath, Lois' birdhouse, and all of them shared the orchard. The flowers were from all three gardens.  

We were all shocked to end up gardners after watching our parents do it. Years later wishing we could ask them questions. This is the next best thing to getting a second chance to play in the dirt with them and design somthing together.

We plan to put many of Johns Photos in a web gallery and some images to stock for those places that like historical or antique images.  I am so pleased to have these to show.

Congratulations to John and his family :)
Let us know if you want to see more of his work or their work "together". Look for the stone pedestal birdbath as one clue 


Anonymous said...

what fun you must have had

E. Gill said...

Lovely, touching. I didn't know that your grandfather was also an accomplished photographer and gardner. Generations of talent converge in you. Hope you are all well now. Hugs and love, Libby

Karen Mecartney Joyce said...

Karen Mecartney Joyce likes this.

Anonymous said...

Any representation of an ornamental gate is compelling, but the lighting in this photo is extraordinay, as is the composition. The wedding photo brings to mind the work of the artist Vermeer with its exquisite flow of fabric. But like Vermeer,the glowing gown leads the eye to the bride's face, showing wonder, joy, and a latent fear of what the future will bring. Your grandfather used a camera as his medium to express his art. Such treasures! All well here -- Jane