As a part of my Photoshop class I’ve learned to restore old photos.
My dad passed away in 1998. This photo was taken in 1996 at my wedding reception (yes, I’m THAT old). The first photo below was after he was diagnosed with cancer, but before being declared terminal. He still looked healthy at this point.
It’s one of the few photos we have of my dad. I removed myself so that it’s just a portrait of my dad. I think between five siblings we may only have four or five photos of my dad. He was a cowboy in the truest sense and not much into taking pictures.
I sent each sibling a surprise gift with this photo in both 4×6 and wallet size. This is a jpg (compressed) version so that it doesn’t slow the load time of the page. It’s a great image of the father we all knew and miss.
His leathery sun damaged skin reminds me of his hard work ethic. He rarely sat still. From building to working on cars to training horses to growing plants, no job was too hard, unless perhaps it was inside.
His greasy hair comb over look that we all teased him about reminds me of the bit of vanity that he had, yet how he wasn’t afraid to be himself.
His smile reminds me of his mischievous pranks. From throwing water out the window at us to getting police officers to scare out of town bosses. Or, perhaps that he had me convinced for a good portion of my youth that if I “bocked” like a chicken hard enough, I could lay eggs. My husband says I must get “it” from him.
His sky blue eyes that you can’t see too well here reminds me of his German heritage and how his father’s family came to America to make a better life.
His dark skin reminds me of his American Indian heritage. His mother was Cherokee.
His lean stature reminds me of how in shape he was due to his hard work that began when he was young picking cotton with his family. He would pick up those fifty pound feed sacks for the horses like nothing, yet hold a delicate newborn baby so naturally.
His stare into the left side of the frame reminds me of all of the deep conversations we had. From what damage so much cement in the city can do to our environment to tips on being successful in life. I miss those talks. Despite not having much of a formal education, he was one smart man.
The crisp white shirt reminds me of how this was a special occasion or he’d have on a button down western shirt, long sleeve of course, no matter how hot it was outside.
The long sleeves remind me of his skull tattoo on his arm that he got when he was a teenager; one of his regrets that he wanted no one to see or mimic.
The glimmer in his eyes makes me think of the way I’ve always considered him the original Horse Whisperer. Robert Redford’s character was very similar to my dad.
His open stance reminds me of the many things he gave away because someone else needed them more. So many of his tools ended up this way. Though he wasn’t rich, he was never short on giving.
He was a special man. I miss him.
I also spent some time restoring this photo of lesser quality. It was an old Polaroid taken in 1994. It was faded with water stains. I put some of the color back into it. Despite the quality, it was a meaningful photo as it was my dad in the office of the feed store that he helped to build and manage. My favorite part of this, besides it being of him doing something he was proud of, is the shirt. It was his typical daily wear. That and Wrangler jeans, a belt and cowboy boots.
Thank God for photos, no matter how few. And, thank you, dad, for loving us.
Until we meet again,