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Edition #49, March 1, 2007

Second Anniversary Edition

My Father's Sun

Photographer: Kevin Scanlon

                Photo © 2007 by Kevin Scanlon

My Fatherís Sun

I was the last of the children to disappoint my father, Leo Scanlon. His lifelong passion was amateur astronomy. His interest began in 1910 when he saw Halleyís Comet as a child and continued until his death in 1999. His deep interest in the stars shaped his and his familyís world. We grew up with an observatory in the backyard; many of the ďunclesĒ we visited and picnicked with were fellow stargazers; we spent warm summer nights setting up a telescope and looking at various stars and planets. He never exerted parental pressure on any of us to follow his study of the sky, but Iím sure he hoped we would. Everyone passionate about a hobby wants to share it with the family. None of the six siblings ever showed any more than a passing interest.

My own interests were in photography and, for some unknown reason, railroads. Dad must have been horrified. He regularly took me to the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh to see the Sky Show and learn about science and astronomy. I was more interested in the large model railroad exhibit they ran at the holidays. He tried to be supportive, although Iím sure he wondered where he went wrong. At age 14 he drove me to look at Horseshoe Curve. It was my Halleyís Comet. I was his last hope to continue his astro-legacy, and I insisted on focusing my attention on earthbound interests. Dad gave in and lent me his Argus C-20 and a light meter so that I could practice proper photography.

Iíve always been a night person, but recently my internal clock suddenly reset. Over the past few years Iíve been working on a photographic series featuring industrial landscapes and early morning light. Much of what I shoot now is close to my home in Pittsburgh. Iíve been trying to include the vestiges of the steel industry as well as the railroads. Iíve also found myself frequently including the morning sun as an element in the photographs. Could it be that Dad has been looking down and giving a gentle push to my photographic decisions? After all, the sun is a star.

Kevin Scanlon

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