I've known my godmother, Rosina, all of my life, in fact my first couple of years were spent living in the upstairs flat of my godparents, in Detroit, while my parents looked for a home by theirs, and fortunately they managed to find a tiny two-bedroom home directly behind them. The benefit was that I was always sharing their company, playing with their dog or eating some scrumptious Italian food. Since no one could speak English very well, my first language, happily, was Italian.
What a magnificent experience it was, growing up and being surrounded by warm and compassionate people from the same village my mom and dad were from. Not only did I learn the language, but the customs and the moral fiber that serves me well today. I am very proud being of Italian heritage.
In addition to all the Italians, our neighborhood had every ethnic background represented within a two-block radius. I grew up hearing all the foreign languages that were spoken. It was the auto industry that brought this melting pot together and many of my family members benefited because of it. The photographs I have in my possession from that time period are priceless.
I shot this image last week on one of my visits to my (godmother) Comare. With me I brought flowers, my Nikon D800, with portrait lens, in anticipation of taking some images of her. The light cooperated and was spectacular.
She enjoyed my company and having her photo taken. This was the last image I shot that day. After I took this, I knew I didn't need to take any more. It was perfect. There is so much life and character in her face, and so much wisdom in her brain. It is because of her wise words that I go to Italy as much as I do, for she told me years ago not to wait until I retire to travel, do it now while I'm young. She said that when you're old all you'll want to do is stay home.
At 92, she is as sharp as a tack, although her body is failing. She remembers everything and is quick to give me advice, which I heed. We should all be so lucky to have a memory as good as hers. I only wish my parents had lived so well and for so long.
It’s true we can’t pick our family, but my parents chose two remarkable people to be my godparents
The moral of this story: Take more than just cell phone pics of someone you love and care for. I know it’s so easy to pick up your phone and snap away, and I’m guilty of it also, but when you have a gifted, professional photographer with the proper equipment and skills the photographs will radiate life and not be just representations of the person.
In this image I feel that I’ve captured the life and vitality of an extraordinary woman who has been instrumental, nurturing and generous in my upbringing. I love her very much, as I loved my godfather Giuseppe. I am a very lucky person to have benefited so much from their existence.
Sad news was given to me today. I saw my Comare last Tuesday, with my husband, and this morning she passed away.
December 10, 1920 - September 25, 2013
She would have been 93 years old on the 10th of December and I miss her so much.
© 2013 Santa Fabio
All Rights Reserved
Color Image shot with a Nikon D800 and available light.
B&W image unknown photographer, taken in Detroit.
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer