i had taken a photo of dad one or two summers after i had read roland barthes' camera lucida. i'd finished it sitting on a towel at a public pool in winston-salem, north carolina. or, maybe it was nyc before they closed the pools down due to AIDS scare. in any event, the photo dates from 1984, when he was my age. "but, it is a great  book about his mother" someone had said. i remember distinctly now why i placed dad off center, it would be evident to anyone who'd read camera lucida. it was probably robert mapplethorpe's "young Man With Arm Extended" I was thinking of as if to prove the point. that's an amulet on his chest from his mom, a little prayer is rolled up in it, he had recovered from a level four melanoma. but he was not protected from future assaults.