Uncle Emanuel “Manny” Pushkin in his Home with my Father, 2011, Miami.
I received a message via Facebook from my brother on the passing of my beloved uncle Manny Pushkin. His influence over my heart, and my photography have made me the photographer that have become.
I remember going to his home off Old Cutler Road and walking in the large double doors and being surrounded by art. Not just paintings but most specifically photographs. Uncle Manny had a passion for photography that captured my imagination. I was amazed at how light and shadows danced in his photographs.
When the time was right we would all shuffle into his study. We would on the floor as he dimmed the lights to watch a slide show from their most recent trip. We would be swept away to the golden hour sunsets of Bryce Canyon, the snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. We sat in the darkness and just marveled. It was magic to my heart and eyes. I still hear that gentle roar of the kodak projector, the kachunk of the changing slides and his beautiful sweet voice reliving the stories of his and my Aunt Claire’s travels. “I want to do that,” I said to myself.
My mother once asked Uncle Manny how come all his pictures came out so well. He replied, “Linnie, I don’t show people my bad photographs.” This nugget of knowledge has stuck with me all the years. The most important part of the editing process is to be selective about what you show others.
Technically I didn’t learn much from him, but I did learn that one has to have passion for life to be an artist. He embraced life with such a passion. He would from time pass off some of his old and equipment to me. I still have the cameras he has given me.
He made everyone feel special. He always wanted to know about what we were doing what we are thinking about. I always received a birthday greeting even though I am now have become a man.
Later in life after retiring he had a new passion for butterflies. He and Claire planted plants that attract butterflies. For him it was never what can the world do for him, but it was always what can he do to make the world a more beautiful place.
I know that all of the hearts that he touched will shed a tear, and remember all the joy that he brought into the world. I will always miss his warm heart. His ability to communicate with anyone. For me as an artist, I would not be where I am today without sitting in the darkened study, and gazing up at his images.
My heart goes out to my Aunt Claire, My Cousin Joanie, My mother and all whose hearts he touched.. We miss you.