Louis Seaman and his friend, Joseph Polacek, Perth Amboy, NJ.

Louis Seaman and his friend, Joseph Polacek, Perth Amboy, NJ.
I took this photo of my uncle Joe and his friend Louie with a Holga.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Uncle John Polachek, Roselle Park, NJ, Circa 1960

Photocommentary is back. Upcoming posts to include more scans of family pictures, a write up on artist Martha Posner, photos by Zev Jonas, Jonno Rattman, Erica Luisi, Larry Fink, Annalisa Gonella, and more.

For now, I hope you enjoy the postwar security of my Uncle John in his parents' back yard in Roselle Park, NJ. He only kept that '57 Chevy (which was orange) another year or two because his two sons, Joe and John Jr., were getting big. I love the way the crease on his pants and the zipper on his bomber jacket line up with the trees in the neighbor's yard-- not unlike the way the trees line up with the suspender and leg of the little boy in Diane Arbus's famous 1960 photograph Boy with Toy Hand Grenade, Central Park. Of course my grandfather, who took this photograph, was not the sophisticated photographer that Arbus was, but his instincts were pretty good, eh?

My Uncle John had been in the infantry in World War II, notably the invasion of Italy. His eyes are just shaded by the brim of the fedora, allowing him the relaxed expression and self-assured stance of someone who has been on the winning side. In his right hand and echoed so nicely in the shadow on the car door, he cups his cigarette. GI's were taught to do this in order that the glow from their smokes would not give away their position at night.

Overhead, the neighbor's laundry waves like Tibetan prayer flags, thanking the oil yards in Bayonne, the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery in Newark, and the Kelly Type Foundry in Elizabeth, where my Uncle John and my Grandfather worked, for jobs.

No comments: