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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nick Cave: Photo By Grant Oliver, Alexandria, VA

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Memory Always: My Brother Art







ART, THE GENTLE GIANT … Son, Brother, Father, and friend to so many. So young, so good, and so loved … that you have seen fit to honor his memory by filling this Church with a gathering of unexpected numbers and love to say Good-bye.


Our family is assembled here in this moment of disbelief, wife Bernie, sons Paul and Mark, the three surviving brothers of our very personal brotherhood and our Mother who has for so long loved and understood the diversity of her sons. ART, A SIMPLE MAN, being the easiest to understand always.


I have stood in such places before to say good-bye to friends and colleagues but never with the shared profound anguish and sorrow that fills this church … on this day.


There is no satisfactory answer to the question of, WHY ART, the Best of the Brothers, is the first to pass. I am the first to admit that Art was a better man than I. Brother Art was the GENTLE GIANT OF OUR BROTHERHOOD who knew not meanness of spirit, nor how to knowingly wrong another.


ART WAS A SIMPLE MAN. There were those who would have had Art find some other, more lucrative employment. He would not … and he was right. Art’s life was a love affair with his tools and what he could do with his hands. Art took pride in his craftsmanship and found satisfaction in his creations. Art loved what he did. There are too few who experience such a life.


As a parting gesture Art saw to it that our Father’s hammer was buried with him … and so it is that his Sons and Brothers have seen to it that Art’s hammer, whistle and baseball indicator have been placed in the carpenter’s cherry wood casket and out to eternal rest with him.


ART WAS A SIMPLE MAN. Art’s life was not a matter of accumulating wealth or possessions, not a matter of ambition or seeking recognition, not aspiring to positions of leadership, influence or power. He gladly left those distractions and complications for others.


Art’s needs were few and beautiful in their simple eloquence; a simple eloquence that enveloped his life with a special grace recognized by all knew him. All Art needed was a good meal, good tools, a good truck, a well built Soap Box Derby racer, and a well-refereed or umpired game, the joy, friendships and camaraderie of sport … and a loving family. We honor our Brother this day for the simple, healthy loving perspective that he brought to this life.


ART WAS A SIMPLE MAN … with simple values. Art’s work ethic had the character of a bye-gone era and his devotion to family will never be questioned. Testimony to that love and devotion will live on with his wife Bernie and Sons Mark and Paul whom any man would be proud to call sons. When it came to family … make no mistake … BROTHER ART DID IT RIGHT.


Art’s sense of humor was a joyful and totally disarming sense of humor that emanated from his heart and his uncomplicated perception of life and people. Off the top of his head Art could do with this driven brother that which few can do, bring a smile to my face or move me to laughter with a simple one-liner. With his arm around me, messing up my hair, he never let me leave this state without the admonishment, “Ed relax, life’s too short”….. HE WAS RIGHT.


ART WAS A SIMPLE MAN. A man who gave so much to others of his time and talents. If he saw a friend in need, help was given without hesitation, or second thought. His love of people, and their love for him, was borne out last night in the numbers gathered in the unbroken line of last night, of those who waited to say good-bye to the Teddy Bear Brother.


Among our world’s collection of clich├ęs is the phrase: “What you see is what you get.” In Art’s simplicity of living, that phrase never had a better example. ART WAS A SIMPLE MAN and simply did not have the time, inclination or appetite for conducting his life for the sake of appearances, pretense or posturing. What you saw was what you got; what he said was what he meant … there was no need to read between the lines with Brother Art.


We are told that the pain of this day will diminish with time. For the first time in my life I have cause to question that notion. Should it be true, it is equally true that Art’s loving legacy will provide unfading memories of a BROTHER with simple exemplary values and unselfish love.


Our lives are diminished by his loss. No greater tribute can be uttered, because there are so few mortals of whom this statement can be made with integrity.


Art’s love of life, people, his craft and his family were so simple, so right, so sincere, that my wife’s reaction when learning of Art’s crisis summed up the moment best when she simply said: “Oh no, not sweet Art!”


To our Brother Art, THE GENTLE GIANT, TEDDY BEAR BROTHER, we say good-bye to your mortal being … but the loving memory of ART will remain until we close our eyes for the last time.


GOOD-BYE, BROTHER. GOOD-BYE, ART. WE HAVE LOVED YOU ALWAYS.







 Eulogy Delivered By Ed Dickau, November 19, 1999