A Letter to a Teenager

Today my daughter is 13 years and 13 days old. As she approached thirteen, we discussed the significance of her becoming a teenager… and we both realized that we did not feel anything different. It felt like just another year.

 (bryan farley)

When she was ten, I collected photographs from her first ten years. One of the photographs is below. This year I collected photographs from age 10 to 13 years and 13 days.

 (bryan farley)

When I wrote three years ago in the ten years post, I said “there is nothing better than being a father.” That is still true.

 (bryan farley)

For age 10 to 13, I collected a gallery of 131 photographs. We have visited some of the same places for the last several years. Emily and her brother have helped me create new memories too. Thirteen may not feel older, but it looks older.

 (Bryan Farley)

I have been lucky to be a father to two wonderful children.… Read the rest

Mason Farley – And The Family Stone

Today is my birthday. My son’s birthday was six days ago. (I am a little older than he is.)

 (bryan farley)

Just as I did with my daughter on her tenth birthday, my son and I returned to the hospital where he was born ten years earlier for a photo shoot reunion. This time my daughter joined us since she had also been there when my son was born.

I also created a photo gallery of some of my favorite photos from his first ten years.

 (bryan farley)

My daughter called the hospital “Magic Land,” because it gave life. (You can see and read more here.) Mason did not seem as reverential as his sister, but that does not mean he dismisses magic or life.

 (bryan farley)

When we visited the Magic Kingdom six years ago, it rained much of the weekend. Mason found life where many of us found disappointment.

 (Bryan Farley)

Mason likes magic. Unfortunately, I could not find the old photos of “Mason the Magician,” but I found many wonderful memories.… Read the rest

Birthday Dozen

My daughter turned twelve last week. She held a “Cupcake War” birthday party and created original desserts. Before the party, I reminisced about my twelfth birthday and shared some of the memories with her. During the party, I photographed Emily and her friends and the “guest judges,” including her nine year old brother. I photographed her the next day on her birthday in our downstairs basement/ballet/photo studio. The studio is a work in progress.

 (bryan farley)

I am still connected to many of the people I invited to my twelfth birthday party. There were times when some of us lost contact, but we eventually reconnected. I imagine it will be the same for my daughter. Many of her current friends will remain in her life. The adults will provide the ingredients, but she will decide what to incorporate.

 (bryan farley)

In the future, Emily and her friends will share stories about cupcake wars and other messy battles. … Read the rest

Emily Farley – Yesterday and Today

Tonight my daughter Emily and I visited Alta Bates Summit Medical Center where she was born ten years ago. Emily called the hospital “Magic Land,” because it “gives life.”

 (bryan farley)

Ten years ago today was the best day of my life, because it was the day I started being a father. There is nothing better than being a father. Ten years ago today I also started taking photographs of my daughter. The gallery I created for Emily’s 10th birthday contains about 100 photographs as of tonight.


 (bryan farley)

Today is also the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ American Invasion. (Their first concert was in Washington, D.C. on February 11, 1964.) While I celebrated the Beatles and an R&B musician who inspired Emily’s middle name, I also listened to a George Strait song during my morning commute. When Emily was four, “I Saw God Today” was the CMA Single of the Year.… Read the rest

Family Portraits at Mills College Oakland

Last month I started teaching photography at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, California. I love teaching, but I miss being a photographer. Fortunately, I was able to be a photographer last weekend when a friend asked me to photograph her family. We met at Mills College in Oakland, California for a portrait session with her husband and three children.

 (bryan farley)

When Libertad (Libby) Rivera asked me if I were still available to take family portraits, I had just started my new teaching position. At the time, I did not realize that I needed to take pictures more than Libby needed to have her picture taken.  I did not need the money. I needed to know that I could still take a decent picture.

 (bryan farley)

Sometimes I know if I have taken a good picture before I see it on my monitor. Last Sunday, I did not know if I had any good pictures, but as soon as I saw the first photograph uploaded to my screen I felt alright.… Read the rest

Sausal Creek Trail Field Trip for Melrose Leadership Academy

I often tell my son, “Today is a good day. Do you know why?” He does. If he is having trouble, he reluctantly answers, “Because you get to spend it with me.” And it is true. Every day I spend with my boy (or my daughter) is a good day. Yesterday, was a great day, because the first graders from Melrose Leadership Academy went to Sausal Creek to study the restoration project and habitat.

My son loves animals and habitats. For a first grader, he is either obsessed with living creatures or really smart. He studies animals the way I studied dinosaurs. We argue about whether insects are animals. (He believes that insects are in fact animals.) He has taught me that “water spiders” are actually “water striders,” and that the largest dolphin is… ? Wait for it? Just when you thought nothing was new… the killer whale. (look it up!)

 (bryan farley)

I learn as much during the field trips as the students, and I suspect that the other parents learn too.… Read the rest

Melrose Leadership Academy After School Assembly

When parents toured Melrose Leadership Academy during the current school year, many asked about our after school program. Parents, grandparents and guardians asked if our students learned about different cultures. We were asked if our children were engaged and challenged. Most people wondered if there were enough physical activity.

Nobody asked if the parents were expected to dance at our twice annual Expos. Until Wednesday night, I am not sure if we had been and since I am scared to dance, I probably would have remembered. My daughter would have remembered, because she is scared to watch me dance.

 (bryan farley)

When the older folks were too slow to move onto the stage, the younger people moved down onto the floor and we became more comfortable. (I think we enjoyed ourselves.) I often tell prospective families, Melrose Leadership is not for everyone. We are often pushed past our comfort zone into something magical.… Read the rest

The New Masters of Educational Technology

Four years ago today, I completed my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. I submitted my research project and final thesis on August 8, 2008 to coincide with the twenty year anniversary of Marshal McLuhan‘s book “Laws of Media: The New Science.” McLuhan was a popular media or technology critic in the 1960’s.

His arguments are still relevant.  

“Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.” Marshall McLuhan

In the last four years, Facebook has gone public. Twitter is no longer a joke. Skype has become a verb… with a smart phone application.  Steve Jobs died and the iPad was born. Instagram became a thing. My kids play with technology and adults use FourSquare.

How did this happen? How did it happen so easily? 

In the rush to create new business, education is often an afterthought. Google recently released Curriculum: Understanding YouTube and Digital Citizenship.… Read the rest