This evocative image contains items from a bygone era when the rotary-dial phone was commonplace and the fastest mode of communication. It also includes a shirt and an old milk bottle with wheat. Although it appears to be a still life, I consider it a type of portrait. Instead of actually showing my father (now deceased), I use items familiar to or belonging to him thereby referencing him. You may get a sense of who he was and when he lived.

If We Could Talk Just One More Time is one of four photographs included in a group exhibit at “The Works Gallery” in Newark, Ohio, from April 13 to July 6, 2018. Members of the Central Ohio Branch of NLAPW (National League of American Pen Women) were asked to contemplate the theme, “Seasons of Our Lives” as we created our work.

During the season of my life depicted in this photo, I was so busy that, at times, I resented being interrupted by the telephone, no matter who was on the other end. But now if I could have just one more call from my father, represented in the photo, I wouldn’t be impatient to get back to my tasks. Now I would listen more and talk less. I would memorize the timbre of his voice and the way he laughed. I would ask questions and make serious mental notes so I would never forget his answers. 

This brings me to another purpose of my work: the power of the visual image to elicit thoughts or emotions or to cause each of us to reflect about seasons of our lives. In doing so, who do you wish you could talk to one more time? What would you tell or ask him/her? Will it change how you communicate in this new age of technology where access is so immediate?