Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

For John Studwell

They laid John Studwell to rest today. They held his funeral at St. Patrick’s Church in Seneca Falls, NY, just a few steps from where John and I shared a kindergarten class. John was one of my first friends. We got along well with each other, and we played together with the rest of our class. Years later, they took down the school’s jungle gym for being too unsafe. And yet, my class climbed all over it, and had a lot of fun.

On the first day of first grade, I discovered two sad truths. One was that for the rest of my schooling, I would have to put up with the full-length school days, as opposed to the half days that I’d enjoyed in kindergarten. The other was that John was no longer in my class, and was now going to another school in Seneca Falls. I came home that day very dejected.

I did see John again a few years later. In 1983, John and his team pitched against my team, and struck out everyone. Except me. I somehow got a base on balls my first time up. The second time I came to bat, I angled my foot so that I would get hit by his pitch. Despite the look from John that I may have done that on purpose (yes, you were right, John), I got on base again, to the astonishment of my teammates. When others asked how I had done so well against him, I smiled and said, “I know him.”

In October of 1983, my father got a job in North Carolina, and my family moved to the very different environment of the Southeast United States. And in so doing, the friends and loved ones that I’d had in New York became crystalised in my memory. They did, and still do mean the world to me. The power of shared experiences in our youth, and the people that I felt had been taken from me. In 1991, I went back to Seneca Falls for my former classmates’ high school graduation. My grandfather, who also played a large part in my outlook on my life, drove me to the graduation. It was wonderful to see them all, as young adults. I still consider that day one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, up there with photographing Johnny Cash, and marrying my wife.

Over time, the internet has allowed me to continue reconnecting with my friends from long ago. I had found John online, and I believe I may have written to him at least once. Yes, it is a bit strange to reach out to someone after all that time. But I was happy to see that he was doing well, even if I wasn’t talking to him again on a regular basis. There was time enough to talk to you him again, someday. Someday, someday….

This past Sunday, I logged into Facebook, and John’s obituary was the first thing I saw. It had been posted on a Seneca Falls news website that he and I both subscribed to. A flood of emptiness filled my head and hands. When you become acquainted with someone at an early age, you share your hopes for life and its possible experiences. You assume that they will grow with you, for however long that you continue to grow and change. You never plan that their light may flicker before your own. For years, I had been searching for David Pasquale, my best friend throughout Catholic school. I wanted to see how he was doing, what had become of his own dreams. Last month, I discovered that he died in 1993, in a motorcycle accident. As I ponder all of this, the childhood I knew, and the people I shared those experiences with seem farther away than ever.

Loss is a loose stone that can quickly overwhelm you, and make it hard to walk away from. During my short time on this planet, I have known that feeling all too well, as have many others. Two different sets of best friends, several family members, and others that I cared about. My grandfather, whose voice I still hear in my head, has been gone from here for 14 years. And I still miss him every day of my life. Looking back, I realize that some of my own interest in photography came from looking at the photographs that my grandparents had left behind, and recognizing the power of those images in the face of that loss. I understand that permenance is a state of mind. I acknowledge it, and allow it to make me stronger. But it is not always easy, at any age. All it takes some days is a casual thought, a memory. The sound or image of someone no longer with us. I may smile at you, but the pain is never too far behind my eyes.

However, time can be deceptive after someone passes away. When the shock of loss has subsided, we are left with not how someone died, but how they lived. The time that they spent with us. The laughs, the stories, even the tears. And that does not change. Those people stay with us because they were a part our lives, our experiences. Whether they are next door, hundreds of miles away, our in a place that we will all visit someday, they are still with us. And will continue to be. For if we still speak their name, write their name on paper (or the internet), and celebrate their lives with us, no one has ever truly left. Their lives carry on, as do ours.

To John Studwell, and David Pasquale, I say hello again, and safe travels. You may have left this place, but you have not left me. To all my friends and loved ones, wherever you are, hello. Your memories fill my head and hands in ways you may never know, and may you all travel on, safely. Wherever you are.

-Daniel Coston
February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Save The Dates, More Info Soon

June 12, 6pm

June 21, 8pm

More info soon.
February 24, 2014

RIP Chip Damiani of the Remains

I met Chip in 2002, when I got the chance to work with the Remains on new promo photos. The Remains were one of the best bands of the 1960s, and had even opened for the Beatles on their final tour before suddenly breaking up in late 1966. All those years later, the original lineup was back together. As we started taking photos, one of them said, "We haven't done a photo shoot since the Beatles tour!" I have to admit that I got a little intimidated by that statement, something I soon learned never to let happen on that shoot. All in all, we got some good photos that day, and Chip and the band were very nice to me.

Two days later, I watched the band play a wedding reception. It was the first time that they had played in a year, and they played after one practice on borrowed instruments. And they were amazing. I knew their records well, but those recordings did not do justice to the band's live sound. Raw, energetic, like a sugar rush with a purpose. I was enthralled, and I took a lot of photos.

I had really hoped in the intervening years that I would see, and shoot the Remains again. To improve on what we did, and what I'd learned since then. I missed them by one day in New York City last year, and had been thinking about seeing them in the Northeast US in a couple of months. But the sudden passing of Chip means I, like other fans, have missed out on that opportunity to see that lineup just one more time.

Safe travels, Chip. Thanks from the photographer,
February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blind Boys Of Alabama photos, February 22, 2014

Blind Boys Of Alabama
Concert To End Homelessness Benefit
Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
February 22, 2014
all photos copyright 2014 Daniel Coston

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coston Family Reunion report, September 1910

From The Geneva (NY) Daily News, September 2, 1910

Stanley, N. Y. - The fifth annual reunion of the Coston family was held Wednesday, Aug. 31st, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Coston, near Phelps, with 33 members of the family in attendance. The day was spent enjoying outdoor sports and games, winners being as follows: 100 yd dash for men,  L. C. Goodman; 100 yd dash for ladies, Mrs. F. C. Coston; 100 yd dash for children over eight, Edgar Jones; small boys foot race, Lewis Coston; potato race, Mrs. L. C. Goodman; three-legged race, Thomas Gulvin and James Coston. A pie eating contest, which caused much merriment, was won by Wm. Coston. A musical program was given in the evening, and it was decided to hold the next reunion at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gulvin. Mrs. Gulvin was elected president, Mrs. Wm. Jones, vice-president, and L. C. Goodman, committee on games and sports. A bountiful dinner and supper were served on the spacious veranda and an enjoyable time was had by all.

Lewis Coston is my great-grandfather, whom I have good memories of. F. G. Coston and Mrs. are my great-great grandparents.

I love the thought of my family making the Society News in 1910.
February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Archives To Ponder

With snow closing in, and events possibly closing down for a couple of days, I find myself with an opportunity to scan and digitalize some photos from the archive. Among the things on the top of the list are photos of the re-dedication of A.P. Carter's birthplace in 2004, pics I just found of Lou Ford recording their first album, and maybe some Avett Brothers pics I recently found again from ten years ago. So the question is, what photos should I find, scan, and maybe post online? Discuss. Safe travels to all this week, wherever you are.
February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mario Botta pics, Bechtler Museum, February 1, 2014

Mario Botta
Bechtler Museum Of Art
Charlotte, NC
February 1, 2014
all photos 2014 Daniel Coston

Updated There Was A Time edition/Charlotte 60s reunion

Hello All-

I'm happy to announce that we're working on an updated edition of There Was A Time. So much new information has come in since we published the book last year, that we decided to put it all in a second edition, with some extra surprises. Stay tuned.

Also, for those of you who came to our Charlotte 60s Reunion concert last June, we're going to be doing that show again. Your favorites from last year will be back, along with some new reunions. I'll be announcing the lineup, and show date and time soon. 

More soon. Safe travels,
February 7, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hot Tuna/Leon Russell pics, Jan. 14, 2014

Hot Tuna
Leon Russell
Neighborhood Theatre
Charlotte, NC
January 14, 2014
all photos copyright 2014 Daniel Coston