Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rory's Face Makes Me Happy

My passion for New York City and it's neighborhoods developed a long time ago when Dad and Mom dragged us all over town walking, biking, subways, cabs, boats and buses. We had no car so we never got anywhere quickly. This left a lot of time to think about what we were seeing and where we were going, and view things more slowly than if you flew by in a Buick. As a kid you tend to pick something visual to focus on to avoid boredom and my brother, Rory, and I had lots of targets.

Add Dad's obsessive photo taking, and I ended up with a broad pictorial record of most of our trips around the city in the 1950s and 1960s. In most of these photographs, Rory is front and center, the lead player in the scene. My powerful memories revive the action.

Looking at these pictures, Rory's engaged photogenic face always makes me think we had a better time than we really did. I never mind this delusion.

Rory passed away sixteen years ago today. He was 42. Rory was a terrific artist. He sketched, sculpted and painted. When Rory wasn't doing his art, he struggled. Each day was hard for him. I wish it was otherwise, and I miss him. My photos give me comfort, but it'd be more fun doing it with Rory. Making art together. I wish he were here.

Mom & Baby Elephant by Rory Pryor

Rory, 18 years old

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