In 1993, my sons and I went to a small studio to have our portrait taken. We posed for a simple father-and-sons photo. We did it again the next year, and the next. On or around my birthday, I’d get the kids from school and we’d have our studio portrait taken in an hour or so.
As years passed, the errand became a tradition. Leafing through the photos, we watched ourselves grow up.
After eleven years of this, we noticed that the studio had a choice of backdrops, including a bookshelf. On a whim, we transmogrified the studio into the Corleone Family study.
Sonny the arrogant heir, Fredo the muscle, and Michael the money guy (he would go on to an AB Economics Honors degree). Don Vito was either feeling old or sitting on something that hurt.
This photo was a sea change. We liked the idea of a theme and decided we wanted one every year. A fatal decision.
We did hats the following year.
The next year we skipped the session, the first and only miss, because these ferocious “Fedayeen” raided the studio to close an arms deal.
We think 2008 was one of the best. We had pledged to ourselves that if we couldn’t think of a theme, we would go in drag. Somehow this self-threat did not translate into strategic planning, and we procrastinated all the way to the eve of my birthday. Zero ideas.
As we were about to surrender ourselves to skirts and earrings, we had an out-of-this-world brainstorm. A quick trip to the mall for plastic sunglasses and black ties and a quick change into our suits …
We began to notice changes in our photos. We were growing up. Sideways, too. More distressingly, the years slipped by much faster. Year after year, when we got to the studio we used for over a decade, they would ask, “You again? Has it been a year already?!”
In 2010 we were determined to dodge ‘drag’ , so we did a smart thing and appealed to Facebook friends. We got enough ideas for two years. We also changed studios, after 17 years, leaving Great Image for The Picture Company.
Sadly, George Harrison seems to have lost his hair and gained a tummy. Still, boys will be boys!
The following year, 2011, was one of our most enthusiastic photo sessions. We cashed in a suggestion harvested from Facebook friends the previous year. There were not four but six Philippine heroes in our portraits – Julio was Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora, all by himself. Gomburza.
We have quite a stack of photos by now. Many folks have commented on our juvenile persistence. But the one comment I haven’t forgotten is from the person who said, “One day you will be very thankful you did all this.”
She was so wrong. I’ve been thankful every single day.
Posted from Manila, September 10, 2012
The nineteenth straight year – Waiting for yesterday’s photos to come out!