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Matinee: 'Like Father, Like Son' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

20 June 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the ninetieth in our series of Saturday matinees today: Like Father, Like Son: Creating Art In A Time Of Troubles.

The description of this 7:34 minute NPR production introduces Bobbie Hanvey, the father, as "a prolific photojournalist and radio interviewer from Northern Ireland" and his son Steafán as a musician who, at the time, was touring America.

But things between fathers and their children are never simple.

Steafán always knew his father was someone very important. People would ask him if he wanted to grow up to be like him. Is he like him? Despite their differences, it's not an easy question to answer.

Steafán always knew his father was someone very important.

We see them both in their element. Bobbie fiddling with a Hasselblad and then a Leica in some old movie footage. Steafán trying out guitars in a music store.

And as the video rolls along, we see Bobbie's black-and-white images from his years covering the Troubles with Steafán's music on the sound track (it's all Steafán's music, incidentally).

Bobbie would take Steafán to some of the incidents he covered. He had a police scanner for leads and Steafán would meet him on the stairs and go with him to cover a fire or a bombing.

"I remember the heat of a lot of the fires," Steafán remembers. His schoolmates had been safe in their beds while he followed his father to the scene.

"I love the people in Northern Ireland," Bobbie says, "because I think they're the greatest people in the world. Even when they were killing each other and being very suspicious of each other, the Protestant neighbor would help the Catholic neighbor and vice versa."

His father gave him a camera and Steafán spent a lot of time in the darkroom with him. His American tour presented Look Behind You! A Father and Son's Impressions of The Troubles In Northern Ireland Through Photograph and Song, a multimedia project he put together featuring work from the Bobbie Hanvey Photograph Archives at Boston College.

"I like interesting faces," Bobbie says. "I've come across women, beautiful women, and they have no makeup on at all. And I'd rather photograph a woman like that."

With Steafán's "Who's gonna carry you when you go?" playing in the background, Bobbie says, "I think that the most difficult thing ever I had to photograph was a funeral."

Bobbie talks quite a bit about his photography (holding even a Nikon D4 but the end), which he refuses to think of as art. Steafán talks about writing music and performing. And his father's art.

We found ourselves admiring both the black-and-white images and the music. They share a rich tonality, if in different spheres.

Like two people of different generations, connected by that most special bond and masters of their different arts, who have come to admire each other. Like father, like son.

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