May 07, 2021 Cris Guamanzara Portrait 0 comments

The following might be the most personal social media post I’ve ever written. Not to date myself much but back in the 80’s my dad decided to come to the states to find better opportunities for both my mother and I. When he migrated to NYC I was only 2 years old and didn’t see him again until I was 4.

I have a very faint recollection of my childhood, but the little memories I do have with my dad, are him being very strict with me. I also know because of what my mom tells me is that after the 2 years of not seeing him I would called him “Tìo” (uncle) instead of “Papá”, and he would get annoyed by it. He has always been a tough love kind of guy. I must have been around 7 or 8 but I faintly remember him taking me to work with him and I dreaded it.  Fast forward 10 years or so, I’m now a teenager and he would always ask me to come help fix the car and he would try to teach me but I would complain because I wanted to watch TV. Then when I would help he would always yell at me because I couldn’t even hold the flash light right correctly. I think that’s every kids right of passage though lol. Now in my 30s I regret so much not wanting to help him fix the car and learning  from all his mechanical knowledge. Because I came to learn that he was a master mechanic back in Ecuador and worked for FIAT building cars literally from the ground up.

Around this same time frame I remember that when we would go play soccer he would yell at me for not playing right or messing up a pass or goal. So I came to find out my dad was like an MVP in soccer where he was well know in the community. He played for the best league in Quito. I learned this when I saw an award he had gotten in the 70s for his soccer skills. So it makes sense why he got mad, since I didn’t inherit his soccer skills lol.

So in lieu of Father’s day being around the corner, I decided to take some portraits of my dad for a Father and Son concept and it dawned on me as I saw his face through the view finder…just like my kids are growing up before my eyes; my parents are also getting older right in front of me. This was the first time I’ve done portraits of my dad and when I saw my dad’s face on the computer screen after I uploaded my shots, I saw wisdom in his eyes, years of craftsmanship and sportsmanship carried over through decades. all of which I can say I took for granted. I sat in front of the computer and just stared at the screen as memories with me and my dad flooded in my head.  Now that I have my 2 kids, I understand why he was the way he was with me growing up and why he is the way he is with me now. While he was very tough with me, I’ve also seen a much gentler side of him with my 2 year old daughter that I haven’t even seen him act like that with my 13 yr old son. All I can tell him now is “Gracias Pa” (thanks Dad) and grow my connection with my dad even stronger. 

I hope you guys enjoy the images of three generations of Guamanzara, My dad, my son and I. 

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