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Matinee: 'Two Portraits of Dad' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

18 June 2022

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 453rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Two Portraits of Dad.

In just over five minutes, this video from Paradox Pictures covers half a century in the life of Canadian photographer Toni Hafkenscheid's father.

Hafkenscheid had returned to his native Rotterdam to clean out his father's apartment where he himself was raised. The apartment where his father had lived 51 years hadn't been lived in since he had moved to an assisted living facility.

The two of them are returning together to the apartment one last time.

Along the way, the elder Hafkenscheid tells the story of the Nazi bombardment of the city, its complete destruction without warning and how he and his brother were sent to German work camps before being hidden from the Nazis by a sympathetic German farmer.

The younger Hafkenscheid tells a story, too. When he was 27, he won an award for his photography. One of the images was of his father in 1986 wearing a suit in stocking feet laying on the bed in the apartment.

The elder Hafkenscheid was very proud of that portrait, his son says.

They take a break from their task at the apartment so Toni can make another portrait of his father. But this time on the couch. A close-up.

These are the two portraits of the video's title. They span 35 years in his father's life.

Toni is now a Toronto-based fine art and commercial photographer. Born in 1959 in Rotterdam, he graduated from the Rietveld Academy in that city in 1989 and moved to Toronto where he was active in the arts community, receiving several Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council awards.

In 1996 he returned to Amsterdam to work as a commercial photographer and teach photography at the Rietveld Academy. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

His father loves the camera, Toni laughs. But what he means, he clarifies, is that his father believes "whatever is good for my son is good for me."

A sentiment fathers everywhere can appreciate.

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