On February 8th, I was working away at my computer when my cellular phone began pinging non-stop. Usually, it's from e-mails or push notifications so I didn't bother to check immediately. It was going crazy, so I logged in and to my dismay, I found out that my eldest 1st cousin passed away suddenly in Rome.
Being so far away from my family is the most heart wrenching emotion during times like these, for economy and my lack of funds prohibit me from leaving and attending funerals. My mother immigrated and became an American citizen back in the 1960s, but my extended, family of aunts, uncles and cousins all live in England, Italy and Sicily.
I was in Rome a few months ago and was able to visit with my cousin, Franco, and his kind and caring mother, my Zia Anna. We had a long conversation about his failing health and I was heartbroken that with the realization that he wouldn't be with us for very long. Even with that understanding, it was still a shock when I read the texts. Even though I am separated by 4000 plus miles, the modern technology and frequent flyer miles keeps me in touch with my extensive family.
For over 30 years I have been documenting the town my parents grew up in and I have thousands of images, but I also have taken photographs in Rome. Franco would not allow me to point a camera in his vicinity last year, and I'm very glad I didn't. I went back through my archives and found the most representative image I have ever made of him, which I'm sharing here.
His eyes, and his gaze reflect who he is perfectly. He inherited our great-grandfather's blue eyes, his spirit of adventure came from his father and his mischief...well that was all his own. I am honoring him in the only way I know how, by sharing the image I believe reflects his character and soul.
I am fortunate to have the skill of being able to capture and create images that reflect what I see, and even though my children run and hide when I bring my camera out, I am glad to have made the images, to record those moments and to share them. Once they are gone, they can never be recreated again, for they are time capsules to remember and to pay tribute.
My advice: Take photographs, make prints, make books and share them.
In Memory of Francesco
© Santa Fabio
No Reproduction Rights Granted.
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer