A True Character   Leave a comment

Clarence Dean

This is my uncle Clarence, one of 13 siblings of my mother, Emily. In 1998, while living in Halifax, I ventured out to the “country”, to the community of Beaverbank, NS to visit my uncle. Clarence has since passed, but I have the fondest of memories of him. This portrait was taken the last time I saw him; I remember him as an eccentric man, who tended his small garden with the greatest of care and pride, who smoked like a chimney and enjoyed the occasional drink or two. There is so much about him I don’t know.  I didn’t live near enough to my numerous first cousins, aunts, and uncles and therefore their lives are a mystery to me.

On the day I visited Clarence, he invited my father and me into his small one room house to share stories, smoke one or two, sip on a libation and engage us in a way very few people do. Real, honest and without judgement. As was always the case, Clarence had us laughing the instant he spoke. I could listen to him all day long.

This picture tells it’s own story. A life lived hard, his eyes reflecting what I cannot see, a moment of serious contemplation and a thoughtfulness filled in all that he was to me. I haven’t photographed a lot of people, but this one I am particularly proud of. It is the moment I hope to be able to repeat with others that is also original, honest, and without judgement.


Posted December 27, 2011 by Paul Coffin in Portrait

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