Gravesite of Adin Newton and Family, Akron, New York

The farthest back I can trace my roots end up here. (Since this was posted I’ve traced 3 more generations back). Here lies Adin Newton and (some of) his Family. Adin Newton was my great-great grandfather, born in 1805 at Rochester, Vermont, and died in Akron, New York 81 years later. I’m not sure whom the broken tombstones commemorate (I now know it’s his first wife Esther and two infant children), but I know Adin had two wives during his lifetime and 23 children…. Adin appears to be leading a charge, even now. I recently saw an exhibition of Edward Weston’s work. I consider him to be the most influential photographer on my personal style and development. I just went digging for images that show his influence, if not subject matter. This one does, just a little.

Etta James at Austin City Limits July 12, 2005

The Great performers can be spotted right away, even in a crowd. I was recently fortunate enough to be able to shoot one of the very best, Etta James… “At Last”, her signature song, will outlive us all. Watching her perform reminded me of photographing Ray Charles. Both were at the top of their games, and both delivered much better than expected…Etta James is a National Treasure.

The Merkel Family! Rochester,New York July 16, 2005

This is a portrait of most of my Mom’s extended family. (There are at least 50 members not pictured.) My mother is the eldest of 12 brothers and sisters. I’m the eldest of over 40 first cousins. Roll in husbands and wives and ex-wives, and children of cousins, and the numbers get big really quickly…and I’m related to all of them. What a family! Every two years we get together from all over the country to renew the wonderful bond we share. The laughing starts as soon as two Merkels even glimpse each other and doesn’t stop until the last one has left the premises…. ….And the last to leave is always me.