Even though my parents were divorced, they continued to be involved in legal wranglings for 25 years (!) after their divorce was final. Yet they were both loving, nurturing, and accepting of me. They encouraged me in the things that I wanted to do and trusted me when I was on my own.MY FATHER
Many people thought of my father as a failure. He often thought of himself that way. He had showed great intelligence and promise when he was young but after the war, he could never accomplish much. He was granted a full disability from the army for what would now be called "post traumatic-stress syndrome."
Like many Vietnam vets today, my father's mind was never far from the trenches of World War One. As a child, he told me in detail what had happened to him; it was an obsession. In a few short months he saw enough death and dying to last a life time. Moments after laughing with his best friend, he was carrying his dead bloodied body to be tagged and buried. The constant artillery bombardments along with poison gas attacks shattered his nerves. Then he was in a POW camp for about a year. He almost starved to death in the prison camp. After the war he got TB. He took a year to recuperate from TB but that seemed to be the last straw. He drifted like thousands in the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. Many in his hard working family have judged him as having "dodged" responsibilities. I wonder how much they really understood.
However, he never lost his interest in history, art, philosophy, music, politics, etc. He was concerned with very modern issues which few people were aware of such as consumerism, the environment and family planning. I learned from him and was surrounded by his ideas and his books. Whatever I have accomplished could not have been done without his influence. In many ways I am a continuation of what he set out to do.
Because my father was much older than most fathers of children my age he could remember back to the turn of the century. He remembered horses drawn carriages and the start of radio and mass marketing. Through him I gained a sense of history. I have a sense of time and the progression of human civilization that I probably could not have gained in any other way.
My father in uniform before going into the trenches in France in World War One in 1917.
By chance Dad found this picture of his capture by the Germans. Being captured probably saved his life, as he would have almost certainly died in the trenches. He did come close to dying as a prisoner.
My Dad in 1984, when he lived next to me in Durham North Carolina. He was 88 years old.
A painting by my father when he was an art student at the age of 40. Because I was familiar with my Dad's studies of the nude female figure, my Muybridge nudes in the "Woman in Motion" series became a continuation of his work.
This picture is a family lie. It is of my older brother and me; it is a posed photograph. My parents wanted to think of us as good friends but in fact I was abused by my much older and stronger brother who I believe was mentally ill.
My mother was from Australia. Australian women got the vote nationally before any other women in the world. She was a very modern woman in the 1950s who knew her own mind and would work hard on her own to accomplish what she wanted. She did not count on the support of men. Yet she had many men friends and suitors.
She had a faith that she could go anywhere and be accepted no matter where she went which was true. She lived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Sharon Connecticut, New York City, and Southport, North Carolina. Everywhere she went she made friends and became part of the community.
My mother and me when I was in my twenties - about 1969.
My mother when she was about 58 years old in 1975.
A painting of my mother by my father. This is perhaps my Dad's best painting.