Issue #186  12/25/2011
In Praise of Friends and Family

By Alex Novak

As we have most holiday seasons at this time, we reserve this newsletter for a simple message.

The holiday season is one that sometimes provides stresses and strains, but--for most of us--it is a season when you spend time with family and friends and remember those absent. It is also a time for remembering others less fortunate than us.

May I wish all of you happy and safe holidays, whatever those holidays are for you. And a Happy New Year. May it be our world's best ever, despite the strife and turmoil that we see now.

I, as all of my readers, wish for an end to violence, especially against women and children--and not only in this more positive season, but all the rest of the year. I would hope that no matter what your persuasion you can agree, although I see some horrors committed against these innocents that lead to questions about the sanity of those who perpetrate them. If we do not honor our children, our sisters, daughters, lovers and wives, and stop the violence that we involve them in, what kind of world are we building? And does it even matter what sex or age we involve in sponsored violence?

I wish and will do what I can for an end to war and violence and a commitment of resources to peace instead, despite all the economic-political push to continue on what sure seems to be a self-destructive path. Will you please join me? In particular, charities are in even more need this season, so do what you can.

My sister and my nephew are here with me, and we will go and visit the rest of my family and many friends this day for Christmas. But whether or not that is your holiday, you certainly can understand the human bonds that all people have at this time of year. We are not just Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic--whatever our belief system. We are all a part of a world grown small and ever needful of our attention.

Clearly people all over the world, including in my own country, are frustrated with our political systems, which often seem corrupt, devaluing its true citizens (and I don't mean "corporations" either, as defined irrationally by some of our Supreme Court justices here in the U.S.). We need to remind all of our politicians that they need to be working for our common good as a people, not their own re-election, riches or power. But we also need to respect each other in our establishment of laws and values. When we find ways to devalue others that we disagree with, it is the end of a civilized process. No religion, political philosophy or party that denies the rights of ALL to participate can be called good, humane or worthy--and certainly not democratic.

My very best to all of you. Give a hug to those you hold dear today. Give a call to those who aren't there. Realign your spirit with this season of hope and peace.

Novak has over 47 years experience in the photography-collecting arena. He is a long-time member and formally board member of the Daguerreian Society, and, when it was still functioning, he was a member of the American Photographic Historical Society (APHS). He organized the 2016 19th-century Photography Show and Conference for the Daguerreian Society. He is also a long-time member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers, or AIPAD. Novak has been a member of the board of the nonprofit Photo Review, which publishes both the Photo Review and the Photograph Collector, and is currently on the Photo Review's advisory board. He was a founding member of the Getty Museum Photography Council. He is author of French 19th-Century Master Photographers: Life into Art.

Novak has had photography articles and columns published in several newspapers, the American Photographic Historical Society newsletter, the Photograph Collector and the Daguerreian Society newsletter. He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest circulation newsletter in the field. Novak is also president and owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, a private photography dealer, which sells by appointment and has sold at exhibit shows, such as AIPAD New York and Miami, Art Chicago, Classic Photography LA, Photo LA, Paris Photo, The 19th-century Photography Show, Art Miami, etc.