Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Richard Salvatore D'Amore: A Photographer, A Poet, A Brother, An Uncle

May 31, 1940- December 14th, 2006

Richard D’Amore, My Brother

From my birth, until my manhood, my brother Richard was my guide and my hero. As we grew up we widened our adventures and challenged the world with our god given talents. Working different jobs, repairing, cooking, helping others along the way.
Surviving, while being self-taught in the arts.
Our parents had little schooling, but taught us both to use the wisdom we were born with. For me this was my way of life, and still is. If I ran out of wisdom, I just asked my brother; he always had enough to give. We both like to finish what we start and we found that putting the finishing touches on things helps to make an art form.
I liked to call my brother Dick, and he called me Bob. He had beautiful hands and long fingers. He was a great flamenco guitarist, writer, and most of all, photographer. When he was young, he went to medical school for a while. His friends would say he had the best hands to be a fine surgeon. He did not finish school. He wanted other things in life. His eyes were open to the arts.
The camera was the eye opener he was looking for. With photography, his world began to get larger and larger. The things he saw behind the lens began to make stories, the stories that later became mysterious and poetic. His new art was to anticipate through the lens and create an image that showed the world exactly how he saw it, how he felt it. Photography was easy, but the more he learned, the harder it was. There were people who saw his work as a piece of beauty and conversation, kind of a fairy tale, a place to go into and play. I was proud of my brother, and I found myself also having a special talent with my camera. We were told to stay original. Fifteen years into our work, there were art shows and publications world wide."... "In spite of all the pressure on my brother, especially towards the end of his life, he was a man who could go into his darkroom, and when all the work was done, he had in his hand a piece of art worth a museum wall or the finest gallery in the world. My brother was a master of his art. I would not like to see his life’s work wasted. I want to help share his photography with the world were it belongs. I will do now what he can do no longer. My brother is my blood. His work is my blood." - Robert D’Amore

Today my Uncle Richard would have been a healthy, vibrant 70 year old artist. His birthday would have been quite a celebration and I know that all of you would have been there to toast him. In LA at the Venice studio with the the photo blessed walls with a slice of salami and the stinkiest of blue cheeses. In Paris the celebration might have been in a boisterous french cafe with glass upon glass of some amazing red wine, paired with an even stinkier piece of unpasteurized french cheese.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I'm surrounded by his photographs, surrounded by my father's and almost daily, creating my own imagery that is a tribute to my family. It's in my blood. The thirst to explore and question. It's a gift, to document life, to create a story, to express a thought or a feeling onto paper and now share even faster via the web. My Uncle's artist statement says it perfectly...

“Culture is the lifeblood of peoples... It is what they are, their art, their food.. their personal grace... their soul. With images on paper, I extend to others the bouquet of a people... It is always a privilege to be offered a sample, a taste of another culture, to listen to the stories, the music, to feel the land, to smell the odors of the kitchen... to feel the wild sage on the skin... to have someone pray for you in a foreign tongue...”-Richard D'Amore

In honor of my Uncle Dickie, I raise my camera to the sky so that he may look down from above and bless my lens with light and wisdom, with courage and compassion, with humor, and with love. With every click of the shutter I am reminded how lucky I am and forever proud to be your niece and a D'Amore.

Bonne anniversaire mon vieil et d'humeur changeante. Je vous aime

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so very much for these images and wonderful words. Richard was a prince amongst men and I miss him terribly. I think of him often and all the times we shared, talking about photography and laughing about life. There are times when my front gate is opened and the sound makes me remember the times Richard would come to dinner when he was by himself. It is as though I expect him to walk in the door,coming to visit to share some laughs with me like he used to with Michael and I. Now both Richard and Michael are gone and all that is left is memories.