Like Father, Like Son

long exposure, fathers day, Alberta, Dan Jurak, black and white, Alberta, fineart, fine art, long exposure, minimalist,

Happy fathers day to all the dads out there both young and old.

I didn’t know my father very well or I don’t remember much of him. I was seven years old when he died. My memories of him are vague and fading but he still lives with me.

It was a sunny day in October when he was taken away to the hospital. Us kids never knew how seriously ill he was and in those days youngsters weren’t allowed to visit the ward that he was in. I knew he was sick but we all get sick and get better. Don’t we? Or at least that’s what I thought. He never returned home.

The next time I saw him was from the front row of his funeral. A few hours later they were lowering his casket at the cemetery. It was a cold and gray November day. The snow was falling. The wind was blowing. It was a miserable day.

Even at that young age I understood the finality of death. I didn’t understand why dad was gone. Why did I have to lose my father while all of my friends still had theirs. It didn’t seem fair but then as I grew up I began to understand life is not always about being fair. We have our fate and our destiny. My destiny was to grow up without a father one of five siblings with a young widow for a mom.

My consolation to losing my dad was having a great mother. It wasn’t easy for her. We didn’t make it easy for her because we never understood as children how difficult it was for her.

As I grew older, got married and had my own children I realized the importance that parents have on their offspring. For better or worse we become more like than unlike our parents.

One of my earliest memories of dad was him setting lights up in the house to photograph us. We were always being photographed by him and then if it wasn’t too late we would get to see him use the bathroom as a darkroom. The orange glow of the safelight and the strong smell of developer, stop bath and fixer are etched in my mind. That would have been around 1958 or 1959.

Over the years I would pore over my fathers’ negatives, prints and transparencies. I became fascinated with photography never intending to pursue it as a career. Somehow I ended up in photo school after I quit university and the rest is history.

There have been moments when I am out by myself chasing clouds that I have felt my fathers presence. In a way my photographs are both a tribute and a reflection of him.

I still love you dad after all of these years.



~ by Dan Jurak on June 21, 2015.

10 Responses to “Like Father, Like Son”

  1. hi dan

    a very moving tribute to the impact and lasting effect of fathers (and mothers). happy father’s day to you. i always enjoy reading of your pride and appreciation of your own kids, too. my own dad passed away just this year (also into photography) and my eldest of two turns 32 (!) in a few days. but no matter what point we’re at, we’re always in the midst of the flow of generations, sometimes aware of what we are re-living, sometimes not noticing how much we are passing on to those coming up. i’ll bet some years from now, your kids will realize just how much they’ve incorporated from their parents and a knowing, rueful smile will emerge…

  2. What a very thoughtful post for today
    In my fathers passing if have been
    aware of the morphing taking place
    in my being – I have become him
    I am very humbled by that

    Happy Fathers Day to you

  3. Hi Marke, so sorry to hear about your father. Whether they are taken young or old there is still a loss that is felt.

    You are right about passing things onto the next generation. I sometimes catch myself smiling inside when I see one of my girls do or say something that is so “me”. Like I wrote for better or worse they are like us. Hopefully more for the better.

    Thank you for your kind comments,

  4. Hi Ray, we do become our parents. I have always said to my kids, you better like me because this is who you will become. LOL

    Thank you for the kind wishes,

  5. awesome comments, Dan! you are a fine photographer but you’re also a great storyteller! it’s good to have fond memories


  6. Thank you Steve.

    Happy fathers day to you,

  7. Dan, this is a touching memory of your father and the loss you felt after his passing. Also a touching tribute to your mother. Glad you have the memories of the photo sessions-that definitely rubbed off on you. Happy Father’s Day!

  8. Very moving and so very recognizable. I was 13 when he passed away. I watched him been carried into the ambulance and that was it. My dad left us a zillion slides. The sound of the ventilator, the click-clack when a slide was changed, dust dancing in the beam of the light. The evenings when we dressed up and my father mounted 500 Watt photographic lamps with their distinct smell and heating up very quickly. After 43 years my father is still so very close and near me. Thinking of him or reading a post like yours makes me cry. Some things never go away.

  9. Stephan, it is funny how after all of these years we can still be emotional over the passing of our fathers. There are times that I feel over it, accepting and understanding and then there are times that I feel like that little seven year old who is lost and without his father.

    I had forgotten about the smell of the photo lamps of the excitement of watching slides being displayed on the screen hung up on a light stand.

    Thank you for your memories,

  10. Thank you Jane. Mom was very special and gave us all a first hand insight into how strong and independent women are.


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