Posted by on April 22, 2012  Add comments
Apr 222012
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While I was in Wellington recently I visited Len, my father-in-law, at his retirement home.


At times these visits are difficult. It is sad to see a previously active man as restricted as he is. Even in his younger days Len was not a great talker, so, while he is keen to hear our family news, conversation can often dry up quite quickly.

But this visit was different.
I had just had some sushi for lunch, I commented on it and asked Len if he had flown in Japan.

Len spent many years as a navigator in both the RAF and  the RNZAF. He flew on Sunderland flying boats for much of his operational career.  He had flown in Japan shortly after World War 2 and he began to tell me stories of his deployments. Once he started he just kept talking, only pausing occasionally to remember details and answer my questions. It was fascinating.

I had my small camera with me and I asked if he would mind if I made a portrait. This picture will always be a reminder of a special visit.


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  7 Responses to “Len”

  1. Wow Ian what a lovely portrait of Len.
    You bring up an important point, one that burns me from time to time, we have to take time to talk to people. How often do we end up at a friends funeral only to find out something facinating about them that, had we known, we could have conversed for hours and hours about. A wasted opportunity.
    Glad you didnt waste this one.

  2. What a lovely portrait Ian, that connection, like Dave’s of Barbara, really shows Len being comfortable with you; no doubt a trust developed both over time and, more especially I suspect, being able to share some important memories with you. A gift to treasure and share with your daughter.

  3. Ian, you have caught one of those moments that are so important to record and share – and they become more important as infirmity hits ourselves and more of those special people around us. Thank you for sharing a special and very personal time

  4. I like that subtle hint of edge to the image. It accentuates the part of your story that reminds us there are still sharp bits in everyone, even if they are hard to find sometimes.

  5. What a wonderful portrait, Ian. His eyes are magnetic. What does he think of it?

  6. Thanks for the great comments.

    This in one of those images that I am more and more pleased with as I look at it more.

    Len also liked it.

    Dave, the “hint of edge” is just right. I did process a couple of more edgy ones but although they were more dramatic they didnt tell the real story.

  7. What an incredible image. Mark.

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