My photography, my art, my thoughts.

Category: relationships

The Teenager’s Room

My daughter’s room is a disaster area in a constant state of flux. We ask often for her to straighten it up, to put things away, get them up off the floor. But her response is usually, “This is the way a teenager’s room is, Dad.” I reply, “But it’s dangerous.” I see myself racing in in the middle of the night to wake her for an evacuation, fire or tornado or impending attack by Huns, and crashing over books and ipods and clothes and bags of tortilla chips and collections of dance shoes, breaking a leg and being left there as the tornado rips the house apart.

tessa's room 1

She does occasionally pick up and put away what she can when it just gets too disgusting or she can’t find those last three paychecks she got from teaching dance. And I can’t fault her too much. We live in an old Greek Revival house that has no storage space. There are only two closets in the whole house and they are in my bedroom, full to the point of exploding. She lives at her computer, so everything is within easy reach, piled about her on the desk or on the floor behind her. And like every teenage girl, clothes are a passion for her and she has long since outgrown her dresser and chest of drawers that were purchased when she was an infant. So if it’s not in the dresser, it’s in the hamper, or the laundry baskets, or piled on the bed or the floor, or on top of another pile.

tessa's room 2

Strangely enough, she usually knows where everything is, with the exception of that thing for downloading the pictures from the camera, or that thing she was supposed to send to a friend at Christmas, or whatever. Things get misplaced but it’s usually her mother’s fault. She must have moved it.

tessa's room 3

When I was young I shared a bedroom with my older brother. We lived in a small two bedroom house with my two sisters and my parents. The boys had one bedroom, the girls the other, and my parents had two large dressers in the dining room and slept on the pull out couch in the living room. My father shared our closet filling it mostly with his suits and shirts. I don’t recall having much that hung in the closet besides a sport coat or single suit and a few shirts and slacks. But the bottom of the closet belonged to my brother and me. There were two large cardboard boxes filled with toys and baseball gloves and army surplus and comic books and all manner of stuff. We had bunk beds to save space and my dad had built a long table top along one side of the room for desk space, study area, and a place to “do stuff”. I built numerous model cars and planes and ships on that table, collected stamps, and coins, and rocks, and dismantled transistor radios and other appliances. My brother’s record player sat in the middle dividing the space. We were never allowed to leave the room in a mess. We were expected to keep things put away and orderly to some extent. Our beds were to be made every day and every Saturday was cleaning day. Sweep, dust, and put away anything left out. My mother sewed for people and often had customers at the house, usually Agnes Scott College students, for fittings and alterations. So things had to be presentable. Little did people know that our hall closet held a huge box of clothes that were clean but needed ironing. If you needed a shirt or a blouse you had to dig through the box and find it and iron it yourself. We had no dryer, clothes were dried on the line outside, and most things were cotton, so “wrinkle free” was nonexistent.

So I guess like most parents, I resist going in my daughter’s room to avoid the feelings of “Oh my God” and try to bite my lip when I do enter so as to allow her to have her own space and her own responsibility for taking care of her own things. Again I can’t complain too much. She’s so busy with dance, and gymnastics, and her friends, and school work. She gets great grades and has wonderful friends, stays out of trouble, watches very little TV, and is an all round excellent kid. And she’s a Virgo like me so I guess I expect some semblance of order and organization.

tessa's room 4

But to each his own. In a year and a half she’ll be off to college and I’ll miss that mess terribly.


Of Grace and Beauty

Last night was the annual talent show for the local school system. Elementary, Middle, and High School students performing for a packed auditorium. I am always a bit in awe of the talent that exists among the young people of this community. Particularly the more mature voices of some of the high school students and the amazing piano players.

My great joy and pride was at the performance of my daughter who danced solo in a piece she choreographed herself to “Perfect” by Alanis Morissette. I have seen her dance so many times with her dance team, even last night. The Armstrong Dance team performed three of their new numbers at the show while the judges tabulated the scores.

dance team

But I have not seen her dance solo on stage until last night. She was poise and grace, joy and passion, a beautiful expression of youth and confidence and beauty. Her interpretation of the music was exquisite and her choreography and movement a testament to her dedication to her dance and the years of practice she has so steadfastly pursued.

on stage 1

You can probably tell that I am a somewhat proud father, made even more proud at the reaction and applause of the audience, to know they appreciated her talent and let her know. My joy for her was at its peak.

on stage 2

on stage 3

I don’t know that she understands how much joy her dance brings to me. I gush with praise after she performs and I’m sure it feels like what every kid would hope and expect their parents to do. But I know from growing up as the youngest of four children in a household with parents who barely saw me everyday, feeling very invisible, that it’s so important to see and recognize your children. To be aware of their goals and their passions and their successes and failures. And to understand what these things mean to their lives. My daughter dances from her heart. Like the poetry she writes, I know she feels deeply about expression, and dance and writing and drawing are her art, her outlets. She is a young woman of great passion as are many teenagers. I am so grateful that she has learned to express it in ways that reward her and enhance her character and soul. And also to the great benefit of we who get to watch her.

on stage 4

Thank you my daughter.

All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.

Back in Willimantic

We rolled in tonight at around six after picking up the dog on the way home. Home from Connecticut where we spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving used to be at Nana’s, my wife’s grandmother’s house. But since Nana died we have spent it with my mother-in-law in Columbia. We cooked the first couple of times, but for the last two years, she too has gotten quite frail and doesn’t seem able to cope with the hectic hub-bub of a big Thanksgiving dinner. So we take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant. Even there she eats like a bird and takes most of her dinner home to have as leftovers. My wife, daughter, and I are all vegetarians, so we don’t miss the turkey. I do miss sitting around the table with all the family, though. Both the brothers do their own thing, both the sisters are out of town now (not that we aren’t). So it’s just the four of us.

green wall

house and fence

river and trestle

I got up early on Thanksgiving morning and, while my wife and daughter slept, went out with my camera to cruise around Willimantic again. Since we are there at Thanksgiving and Christmas I seem to be able to photograph that town when there are few people on the streets and things are very quiet. It had rained during the night and the streets were wet. The temp was extremely mild for late November. Mist was hanging over the river and along the creek beds. The sky was cloudy but beginning to break.

factories on the river

run down house

yellow bldg with tree

Willimantic is a great town for street photography. At least the kind I like to shoot. There’s a great deal of ethnic diversity, a somewhat depressed economy, a nearby college, old neighborhoods, and historic buildings mixed with not so new architecture. It makes for great combinations and colorful material.

storefronts on main

YMCA wall

window arrangement 1

The town has a historic connection to frogs via the Windham Frog Pond. The story dates from 1754 when, after a long drought, the townspeople were awakened one night to a terrible noise. Fearing and indian attack, they took to the hills with guns. Finding nothing there they returned home, only to discover, the next morning, that the noise had come, not from the hills, but from what was left of the mill pond to the east, where, during the night, a fierce battle between the bull frogs for what was left of the remaining water had taken place.

bridge with frog

frog 2

window arrangement 2

The town is also known for its historic thread mills. So on the bridge spanning the river there are enormous frogs sitting atop thread spools. They also appear at other places about the town and seem to be thematic in countless windows and yards around the area.

small store

cat in window


I love the visual aspects of this town. The juxtapositions and the contrasts. I did a previous post on Willimantic. I don’t know if it’s just different material than I’m used to, or if this town holds something special that I need to document. Whatever it is, I’ll keep returning, as long as the holidays bring me there.

red tree

All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.

Summer’s End in Ottawa

The last day of Summer was graced with beautiful blue skies and a stiff warm breeze in Ottawa where Jack and Joyce exchanged their vows and joined their lives. My wife has known Jack since college so I’ve known Jack about as long as I’ve known my wife and he is one of our dearest friends. Jack and Joyce are both parents of beautiful young adults from previous marriages and so are experienced people. But their wedding ceremony made it so clear how young at heart, romantic, and in love they are with each other.


We had driven up on Friday in order to have dinner with them and our friends, Peggy and Vito, and a few of Jack’s family from out of town. We met at the Green Papaya, a wonderful Thai restaurant on the Quebec side, across from the incredible Museum of Civilization. After dinner we strolled across to take in the view of the city across the river. Ottawa is so beautiful. A gorgeous, fun night.

Jack and Hanna

museum of civilization

The ceremony on Saturday was at Keg Manor and Maplewood Gardens. A beautiful old mansion converted to a restaurant with a sweet walled garden.

bride and groom

Joyce and Hanna

Joyce and sons

young girl

Later, in the patio area, Jack sang to his bride. And Jack’s beautiful daughter, Hanna, performed two lovely songs for the newly-weds. Dinner was splendid with more songs from the groom and beautiful words from Joyce reminding us to live every day to the fullest. The party afterwards moved to their house where we partied and socialized until after midnight.

Jack sings



Jack and Joyce

Jack and Vito sing

There were more musical performances at the house from Joyce’s son’s band. Not my genre but extremely entertaining.

son playing guitar

In the basement of the house is Jack’s Grotto. The Grotto is famous among those who know Jack and it has existed in several iterations over the years in Jack’s varied residences. He is a collector of the unusual. The Grotto houses Jack’s collections of old postcards of the Flat Iron Building and “Painted Moon” photos, about two hundred corkscrews, and the prize collection of grotesque lamps. The lamps are the real attraction. He’s been collecting them for years and they have to fall into specific criteria. Besides being odd, tacky, and grotesque, they cannot cost more than $10. It’s a cozy, tiny, museum, where friends gather, converse, drink good wine, and experience an incredible, eclectic collection of odd things.

jack in the grotto

lamps in the grotto

We had a marvelous time. And to Jack and Joyce and their wonderful kids, we wish you all the happiness and love, just as you have always shown it to all of us. You are special people and it was a joy to meet your family and share your celebration.

All Images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved

Eli is called to the Torah

On Saturday I attended and photographed the bar mitzvah of Eli, son of my good friends Jonathan and Eve. An incredible passage and celebration for a young person marking their movement into young adulthood within the Jewish community.



It was a beautiful, moving ceremony filled with joy and friendship and family, and I was delighted to be able to photograph it for them. Jonathan and Eve and their son were our next door neighbors (this was before the addition of their other son, Noah). We live on the edge of a huge gorge with a dramatic drop of about 200 feet at the edge. It’s spectacular to see, but dangerous for small children, so Jonathan and Eve and Eli moved to a new house rather than obstruct the beautiful view with a fence. The house now belongs to Eve’s parents, Joan and Joel, who are now our wonderful neighbors to the south.

Eli and Joel


Eli with Torah

The ceremony took place at Tikkun v’Or Synagogue in Lansing under a beautiful blue sky, a day that was Kodak picture perfect. Eli is an impressive and handsome young man with deep thoughts and concerns matched with the spirit and exuberance of a teenage boy. The service was touching and tender filled with the love of family and community and a beautiful example of how a community can come together to support and bless the growth of a young man and celebrate all that he is and represents.

Eli reading

Jonathan and Eli


Eve and Eli


He had obviously made a deep and serious commitment to this process after some personal struggle over it’s meaning and significance. His parents are both loving, generous, spiritual people that have given him the freedom to express and decide for himself the value of such life lessons and commitments. And it was a courageous decision on Eli’s part requiring a great deal of study and hard work. Congratulations to you, young man.

Jonathan's sister

Eli at dinner

Eve and Joan

Aunt Gini and Uncle Irving hosted the Kiddush luncheon afterwards in the tent outside and dinner and a larger party took place later in the evening by Cayuga Lake at Taughannock State Park. The stiff breeze off the water subsided as the evening progressed and fabulous food by Word Of Mouth Catering from Trumansburg was a treat for everyone.

Jonathan and servers


Jonathan's brother

child playing

Fantastic, lively music from the Cornell Klezmer Ensemble had everyone spinning and dancing while the sun set over Cayuga Lake. As a photographer, these events are such a wonderful opportunity for capturing the whole sense of family and community. The beautiful faces of children, the friends not seen for years, and the love expressed on such an occasion are moments to be recorded and savored. They are our culture, our history, our future, our lives expressed fully in an all too brief moment.





child on sholder

It’s seldom that we have large gatherings of this type. Weddings, monumental anniversaries, retirement parties, family reunions, and bar and bat mitzvahs. With family spread far and wide, friends that we only see on such occasions, they are moments of great love, friendship, and sharing. The photographer gets to be inspired and witness this expression of love as both guest and participant and hopefully leave the family with cherished evidence to accompany their memories. It’s a good thing.

“Sweet 16”

This past Sunday was my daughter’s sixteenth birthday. This milestone is one that every teenager looks forward to for many reasons, but first and foremost is driving. It scares me to think of her behind the wheel without her Mom or me there, but on the days when we are driving all over creation and waiting on her while she does her teenage thing, I feel like I will relish the time when she can do her own transportation.

tessa in the car

For a sixteen year old, driving means freedom. Not having to depend on asking for a ride, looking to parents to give up whatever they are engaged in to deliver you somewhere and pick you up later. It’s like receiving your wings and being able to finally fly solo. For the parent, you cross your fingers and say a prayer and launch your fledgling trusting that you have taught them well and that they will use good judgment and common sense and that others will not harm them, while knowing full well how dangerous the highways are. It scares me but I know from my own memories of getting my license, that it is an experience that marks a major feeling of coming of age, a trusting, a responsibility, an opening of the cage door and release to the world. Travel with care and awareness my daughter, and come home safely each day.

Tessa in Paris

tessa dance 1

Tessa dance 2


My daughter is a smart, responsible, amazing young person. A dancer, a gymnast, a poet, an artist, a lover of all living things, a vegetarian, a musician, an excellent student, and the most loyal of friends. She is also a typical teen with a messy room, a love of cool clothes, and a willingness to show great affection to her friends while being very reserved about showing it to her parents. More often than not we are an annoyance (because we usually come with requests and rules), but occasionally are also a welcome friend and advisor. Those are the rare moments that I live for. I wish daily that she would be more willing to say, “I love you” or “thank you”, but know in my heart that she knows she is a blessed and lucky young woman.

tessa and rea

tess and giraffe

tess and dolphin

She is outwardly happy, sitting at her computer singing to herself, she has a great laugh, though I know from her poetry that she has been hurt, and lonely, and sad, and has felt loss of loved ones and friends. She is sensitive, caring, thoughtful, empathetic, and wise. She is artistic, curious, dedicated, and generous. She is stubborn, and strong, and can persuade me to do most anything. And she is the light of my life.


tess at Busch w/ friends

So happy birthday, my girl. Life holds great promise for you and your future. Whether you pursue a career in dance or become a zookeeper, or find along your path a new desire, you will undoubtedly succeed and shine. Your talent, your dedication, and your love of life will propel you to the achievement of your goals. I could not be more proud of you.

Love, Dad

tess b and w

A Great Party in Ithaca with Eddie and Cortney

Another late night last night at The Statler Hotel in Ithaca on the Cornell Campus. Once again I was second shooter with Frank DiMeo for another terrific wedding. Cortney and Eddie are both Cornellians and chose Sage Chapel on the Cornell campus as the location for their wedding. A terrific couple, teamed up with a large, fun loving wedding party made for a great party.

stained glass

I hooked up with Frank at Julie Stone’s Hair Salon where the girls were getting their hair and makeup done. Then went off to catch the guys getting set for the wedding at the Statler.

groom in room

guy in chair

groom and best men

The group was very laid back and relaxed. I shot a lot of images at the hotel then we all walked to Sage and stopped along the way for a few more pictures.

pocket watch

acting crazy


The ceremony was a traditional Catholic service and quite beautiful in Sage with the high beamed ceilings, beautiful stained glass and mosaics. Music was from a string quartet.

priest and groomsmen

bride and groom

After the formalities and some group shots outside, Frank and I climbed into the limo with the bride and groom to go find some locations.

bridesmaids and flowers


bride and groom at the arches

hands and gown

We went back to a couple of nearby spots where Frank likes to shoot and got some beautiful images from a very cooperative wedding couple who were really into getting something great. Watch Frank’s blog for pictures that will knock your socks off of these two.

Back at the hotel the party was in full swing. DJ Nicky Wood kept the music going non-stop with masterful transitions and a great selection. You know it’s good when everybody on the dance floor is singing at the top of their lungs to “Living on a Prayer” and the parents are out dancing the fraternity brothers.

dad dancing

bride singing

groom and guests

female guest

girls dancing

It was a great party in spite of the very long day. I’m mostly recovered, but still yawning. Weddings are amazing events, the way they bring out the love among everyone. We all need the stimulus of this kind of over flowing of love and family and friendship and emotion. It’s inspiring.

couple 1

couple 2

Thanks Cortney and Eddie and thanks again Frank. You’re one of the hardest working guys I know.

All images are copyright © George Cannon / All rights reserved.

A Love Fest in Saratoga

It was wedding time again, this time with Katie and Matt in Saratoga Springs.

Again I went as second shooter with Frank DiMeo and again it was a blast. Frank is a marvel to watch. And a creative genius. As we entered the Gideon Putnam Hotel where the wedding couple so kindly arranged for us to stay, Frank spotted two phone booths in the hall way and immediately his creative mind knew this was an ideal spot for some great images. He eventually shot the bride and groom there and the pictures were fabulous. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Saratoga Springs is a gorgeous upstate town with the famous race track, amazing parks and gardens, springs and spas, Saratoga water, great shops and main street, and full of hospitality. The Gideon Putnam is a spa and resort hotel with incredible grounds and beautiful rooms, and an endless array of great locations to shoot.

Gideon Putnam

We arrived on Friday and shot the wedding rehearsal dinner at the home of Matt’s parents. The weather was fantastic and the night was full of gifts and toasts and pictures both taken and shown.



The theme was tropical and the party went until late in the evening. Frank and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning going over images and pulling out highlights for a Sunday slide show.

Katie and Friend


Katie and Matt

Katie and Mom


The wedding day began early as we drove around looking for Katie, the bride, who was supposed to be out running in the park with two of her friends. We never found her, but did find some great locations in the early morning light for later shoots. We met Katie and two of her wedding party at the hairdresser’s later then headed over to Katie’s mother’s house where they would be getting ready for the wedding taking place there later in the afternoon.

doing nails

The house backs up to Saratoga Lake and was a beautiful setting. The girls were lighter than air about the house with make up and nails and dressing. Frank did a stunning job documenting the bride getting ready. I left the preparations to go to Matt’s place to cover the guys getting their act together.

fixing the bow tie

Matt's Dad

Matts Mom and Dad

The day was beautiful and clear, but quite warm, and there was a slight threat of rain late in the day. The showers, unfortunately, did materialize just in time to foil the group pictures at the wedding site and forcing a new plan at the Gideon where the reception was held.

red roses



Matt and Katie 2

The room was spectacular and as was to be expected, the party went well into the night. The rain stopped early enough to get outside and shoot the necessary group pictures before the light of day faded. The bride and groom had planned a slightly uncharacteristic but fun reception, foregoing the traditional wedding cake in favor of an ice cream sundae bar. And to augment their memories, a photo booth was installed outside the main dining area for snapshots of attendees and family. A great idea. There was no bouquet toss or garter routine. Just a continuous stream of dance music and a lot of fun.

Katie and Matt dance 2

Katie and Matt Dance 1

Katie's Aunt and bridesmaid

Brother's toast

Katie and Mom dance

Matt and Katie 3

Once the party ended, Frank and I, once again, went to work pulling out images from the entire day, to make a slide show that would be shown at the two brunches to follow on Sunday, and again went to bed with little time left for sleep. The slide shows the next day, narrowed to about three hundred images from twice that many that we had pulled out as possible images to use, were a big hit. It’s so amazing to have pictures available for everyone to see the next day. The technology today is just fantastic.



dancing 1

dancing 2

dancing 3

Katie and Matt were up for more pictures at 6:00 AM on Sunday and Frank went out with them to shoot at the early morning spots we had seen the day before. He had previsualized great stuff in advance and put it all together in that gorgeous light to make a spectacular series of shots with the wedding couple. (These will eventually show up on his blog for sure). I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to get some additional, much needed sleep. They came back to the Gideon and I met them for the final morning pictures in the phone booths and some great stuff in their bedroom. It’s so great to work with a couple that’s so into creating great images and great memories. They were so much fun to shoot and so obviously happy to be together. My thanks go out to Katie and Matt for taking good care of us, to their parents who were so hospitable and gracious, and to Frank for including me as part of a team. I learn from you every time.


All images are Copyright © George Cannon, all rights reserved.

It’s Wedding Season

Last Saturday I spent the day in Syracuse as a second shooter with my very good friend and photographer extraordinaire, Frank DiMeo, photographing Mike and Kristi’s wedding. This is not my regular bag but it is Frank’s and I love doing this with him. It’s great to see Frank work and I always feel like I’m at school when I’m watching him. He’s so creative and so good with people. But it was a blast and the entire wedding party and families were terrific.

Frank went to photograph the girls getting ready while I waited for the groomsmen at the church in Baldwinsville.groomsman waiting


pinning the flower

Mike and groomsman

The church was large and spacious, but a tough lighting situation. The ceremony was beautiful, the minister allowing us free access to shoot whatever we wanted. He was humorous and easy while still remaining reverent and serious. A marvelous person.


minister profile

flower girls

red flowers

Frank set up the after ceremony shots where the light was soft and full inside, then moved out to a beautiful garden outside. It’s so great to go along as the second shooter because he takes all the pressure off me since he’s responsible for all the “must get” pictures, and leaves me free to get creative, look for tight shots and special moments.

Kristi and Mike


Kristi and Mike 2

the bride

We followed the limo into Syracuse for more wedding party shots at Franklin Park, a beautiful little square in the middle of an area of historic factory buildings that have been artfully restored. The sky had clouded over and the light was soft and flattering. Frank set up the group shots and again left me free to watch and look for the a different perspective and happenings outside the posed pictures.

Mike and guys

the ring


bridesmaids' flowers


The reception was at the Oncenter, a huge space with a grand feeling. The DJ’s were fantastic and had people dancing all night.

Oncenter lobby

Kristi with DJ

hugging Grandmother

Weddings are so inspiring for everyone, with love of family, young and old, good friends, romance, probably the most fun and festive occasion we experience. And rightfully so.

bride and groom sitting

Father daughter

dancing 3

dancing 1

dancing 2


Frank DiMeo

I thank Frank for taking me along and trusting in my photographic talents as a supporting member. And I thank Mike and Kristi for putting on such a great party. In spite of the fact that I was working, it was great fun.

A Mother’s Day Gift

It’s Mother’s Day and I have a surprise for my wife. I spent about three months earlier this year going through photos of my daughter and our family in order to make a book for my wife for Mother’s Day. I scanned over a hundred negatives and chose all my favorite pictures of my daughter and her Mom and some other family members from the first seven years of my daughter’s growing up (she’s almost 16 now). But as she’s gotten older, she’s been less willing to pose for pictures and more absent with her busy social life so she’s at home less. So these were the richer years for images and I’m so glad I documented them as well as I did.

I wanted to share here just a portion of the images that went into the book and also to say to my wife, thank you for being such a great mother to this girl. What you have been willing to sacrifice for her, always wrapped in love and deep, deep caring, and the example you have been and values you have instilled in her have made her a beautiful, spectacular, and wonderful human being. She is loved and admired by so many, and is a strong, elegant, caring young woman now. Thank you for all you do and all you give.

Coming home day.

sleeping baby

Sleeping child.

playing with doll

Baby doll.

at the table

Hard at work.

mother and daughter

Mother and daughter.

portrait 1

Our girl.

in the pool

In the pool.

feeding deer

Feeding the deer.

Eating cake

Feeding Mom.

At the playground

At the playground.





four generations

Four generations.

watching TV

Watching TV.

playing dressup

Playing dress-up.

On the phone

On the phone with Grandma.


Way cool!

broken arms

Two broken arms.


My favorite clown.


whale watch

Whale watch.


first day of school

First day of school.


At the cape



The Shortest Journey

The sweetest moments to recall,
stay locked within our minds…
those moments with our children,
(by far the sweetest kind)

To see our children learning
and growing more each day…
these moments are so precious
and too soon they slip away.

We hold the memories tightly
and time does not impair…
the bond between a mother
and the children in her care.

It seems before we know it,
we blink and they are grown…
from childhood to adulthood;
the shortest journey ever known.

—© Jill Lemming

Happy Mother’s Day.

All images are copyright © George Cannon / All rights reserved.

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