At Home, 1980

by Dummett Tony

at home dummett tony

Gallery: Listening To My Father

Category: Uncategorized

Published: Wednesday 26th of December 2001 03:01:38 AM


Barbara Russell
Aesthetics 7, Originality 7 Good portrait!

Michael Brown
Well Tony if that's what he was saying we are all happy you didn't listen.

Robbin Marie
Did you listen Tony? Great! I love the expression, the hands and the angle of the camera, makes one feel the authority. Yet I feel this person is one who is sharing a wise idea or thought. Nice story here. GREAT details!

Maria S.
Tony --your father is carrying Strathfield, Sydney on his head. Help him,please.

Tony Dummett
I think he was saying, "Will you put that bloody camera away and go back to Law!"

David Dunn
Aesthetics 8, Originality 8 Nice expression....

Filipe Silva
Aesthetics 10, Originality 10 Fantastics!!

Tony Samples
Personality Tony-This is the kind of portrait that makes me feel as though I know the subject personally. As someone who tries and often fails at just that in my own portraits, I applaud you. Excellent work.

Erol A.
Tony, another fantastic portrait. Your understanding and relationship to your subjects is always finely translated into your work, here so to an even higher degree than usual. Wonderful visual storytelling; thanks for sharing with us all.

Slynk X
Wow. I love it. It reminds me of my grandfather. I especially love the way his hands are positioned and the look on his face.

Axel Cordes
Great After a long while beeing absent on the net, I thought look to Tonys images, and YEAH this one is fantastic. As it is your father you can be gald to have such a talking image of one you love. I would like to have that kind of images of people known to me. This neg would be in a treasure in the bank...

Peter Daalder
Sympathetic Tony, this is my favourite image in this folder... You wrote that he might have been saying something along the lines of "...put that bloody camera away...", but to me his expression is not all that intimidating here. Far from giving the recipient a lecture, I perceive this portrait more like a father who will always have his arms open to his son, no matter what he has done! Something like an open invitation... Absolute magic stuff!

Leilani Exner
Great portrait I love this one, keep up the good work

Dennis Dixson
Here's to Dads Merry Christmas! I hope one of your New Year's resolutions is to write a book. The photograph and comments are well done and thought provoking as usual. My parents "split the sheets" (one of my Dad's expressions) when I was small and I never saw him again for about 25 years. All the photos I had seen of him were as a young man, so it was quite a revelation to meet the grizzled old prospector in person again. I will have to remember to take a decent photo next time I see him. Thanks for the story behind the photo.

Peter Daalder
Thanks for the story Hhhmm, food for thought on Christmas Day... Best wishes to you and yours for the festive season. Boxing Day should be a corker, with cricket in Melbourne and the Sydney to Hobart starting... Good excuse to get the camera out!

Alberto Conde
One of the very best portraits I know: his expression, his eyes, the glasses on the tip of his nose, that flock of hair falling over, the blurred bookd behind him and, specially, the force and strength conveyed by his hands.

Tony Dummett
I always thought the other portrait would be more popular, but this is the one most people like. My father was a boxer when he was young. He wasn't what you'd call a big man, but he had boxer's hands. I once met an old guy who had known my Dad when they were kids at school in suburban Sydney. I'd been talking to this chap for four hours before he let me in on his secret. I was friends with his sons, and they never said anything more than needed to be said either. When I mentioned the suburb that my father had lived in as a boy this man replied, "So you ARE Billy Dummett's son!". Eager for information about my father's boyhood I asked him to tell me whatever he could about those times. All he would say was, "Jesus Christ, he could box, that Billy Dummett". I got the feeling he had been on the receiving end at one stage or another. My father and I only had one boxing match. He had, amazingly, accused me of being "queer" because I transferred the part from one side of my head to the other, in an attempt at a new-fangled hairstyle, in my final year of high school. It was "known" (according to my father) that only poofters parted their hair on the right. In contrast to him, I was never a physical fighter. My hands are quite small (probably another indication of being homosexual, to his mind at the time). I vehemently disaggreed, so we escalated the argument until, out of the blue, he punched me in the nose, pretty lightly now that I think about it, the mark of an expert pugilist. Well, I may have had small hands and parted my head on the "queer" side, but I was young, strong and very fit. And I was no expert, there was no finesse to my response at all. I tore into him, and he into me. I couldn't believe it... we were having a fist fight! After a few blows he fell over. I'm not sure whether I punched him out or whether he lost his balance... but he fell and broke two ribs. He was in a leather harness for a month and a half afterwards, and in quite a bit if pain, especially in the early stages of the injury. But I wasn't at all sorry. It had been a fair fight, he started it and we settled it like men, although normally this kind of thought process wouldn't even cross my mind. For years after (my Angry Young Man stage) he used to snarlingly refer to this episode as the time that I, a dirty fighter and naturally sneaky, tripped him deliberately: the equivalent, in his eyes, to a foul punch, below the belt. When I reached my late twenties we had, of course, long been reconciled. We loved and admired each other too much to stay apart. I knew that peace had been formally declared when, at a family Sunday dinner, he announced to he assembled gathering how proud he had been of me during that fight, standing toe-to-toe, slugging it out with him in the dining room, finally knocking him out fair and square. The "foul punch" version had been recast as a noble battle etc. where a boy, allegedly on the razor's edge of turning gay, was directed back onto the course of red-blooded manhood. It had been worth it, he declared, to lose the function of two ribs for a month or so, to see me set right for life. And, he pointed out, I had changed my part back to the appropriate side of my head soon after. This was proof positive that a good belting, even if you were on the losing side, could solve just about all problems. Present at the dinner, besides my mother, sister and brother-in-law, was my girlfriend of the time (with whom I had been having a demonstrably heterosexual affaire, which I think prompted that night's ritual forgiving of past misunderstandings). It was her introduction to my family, and she had been pressing me to take to the family home for a year or so. I had tried to put her off, but she finally stamped her foot and said, "Tony! No more excuses!". So I took her, washing my hands of the consequences. She was quiet, easily shocked and liked to think of family dinners as polite occasions where pleasantries were exchanged and the guests were treated with consideration and etiquette. Instead she copped the Full Dummett Sunday Dinner: arguments across the table, pejorative character pronouncements tossed around like the whiskey bottle at an Irish wake, walk-outs and exhibitionistic, exaggerated dramatic scenes acted out - all perfectly normal to us, as we had the foundation of "family" as our anchor, but our jolly success was anathema to the girlfriend. And then came the story of the fist fight. That was too much for her. She went awful quiet after that, considering the ramifications of the undeniable, even celebrated fact that the man she thought she loved would indulge in a punch-up with old man over which side of his head he parted his hair. Come to think of it, the episode had been a bit eccentric, even for our family. Driving away, after loving hugs and farewells at the front door between all present, she asked me if it was true about the fight (and several other things that been brought out onto the table). I admitted it was so. Her reply was short and definitive. She said, "Tony, I don't EVER want to go to that house again. That was one of the most shocking experiences of my life." She kept her word, after a fashion, and didn't visit again until shortly after my Dad died, when our family home had become just a house. That she never met him again was a pity. She could have learned a lot from him, as we in the family all had.

Maxim Reider
Eamonn Aiken said it all.

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