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Photographer, and writer Thomas W. P. Slatin discusses a passion for photography, which he shared with his father, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin.
“My father used to tell me that you either do good work or you don’t do it at all. I was raised to believe that quality, doing the right thing and personal responsibility, as well as acceptance of others is most important,” recalls Thomas W. P. Slatin, son of Dr. Harvey L. Slatin and Anne P. Slatin. Slatin continued in a recent interview to state, “My father was a scientist and inventor, a local celebrity, a jack-of-all-trades, and a philanthropist, supporting music, photography – the arts, and being of service to others.” Paraphrasing Slatin, he recalled that his father lived his life by encouraging things such as doing the best he could for others. He aspired to make the world a better place through science, through the various inventions and patents he held relating to electroplating processes,” concludes Slatin. His father, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and earned his PhD on Nuclear Physics from Berkeley. Dr. Slatin’s faculty advisor at Berkeley University was Robert J. Oppenheimer. His wish for his only son, Thomas W. P. Slatin was for his son to be “self-reliant, pursuing work he loves,” after 20 years working for others, that dream came to fruition for Thomas Slatin. [Wikipedia]
Throughout the last decade, several of Slatin’s photographs have been chosen by Jones Soda Company to appear on their retail soda bottles. A photograph taken by Slatin of a red tricycle was most recently chosen to appear on the Jones Soda Company’s widely distributed soda bottles. In 2016, Slatin’s website and blog was awarded “Dreamiest Website and Blog of the Year” by Dreamhost. Thomas Slatin’s blog is a platform on which he writes in a way to create a welcoming place for dialogue with his audience, based on the first-hand account of his life experiences and perspectives, including meaningful conversations with his father, the late, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin. It is not the inventions relating to the electroplating processes and compounds that Dr. Slatin would ever boast of, although it was extremely important to him to use science in this way to positively impact society. His greatest achievement, in Dr. Harvey Slatin’s words, raising a son, Thomas W.P. Slatin. There was a 64 year gap in their age difference, but as both Thomas Slatin and the late Dr. Slatin have spoke of publicly, truly there wasn’t a gap at all; paraphrasing, simply a bridge created between the two men, as father and son, a bridge to better understanding and acceptance on many levels.
Where did the scientist with an interest in the arts and photography; and his son, photographer, writer and former Emergency Medical Technician and firefighter, merge in the meeting of the minds, both pursuing work that each was passionate about, with a continued mutual admiration for one another? Thomas Slatin states on his blog, www.tomslatin.com that it was his father who gifted him his first camera when he was 12, a Canon 35mm Canon AE-1, which had belonged to Dr. Slatin. “This camera sits on my desk to this day,” states Slatin. Continuing, “my father always provided me with cameras and film, and the sort, up until the last days before his passing in February of 2013.” In a blog entry, posted by Thomas Slatin on his website entitled, “Science vs. Things Unseen” Slatin continues, “I was always curious about my father, since as far back as I could remember.” Slatin at one point, referred to he and his dad as “polar opposites,” yet continued to state in this blog post dating back to 2011, “but recently as my father has been spending more and more time with me, I feel as if we aren’t so opposite anymore.”
To which his father scientist and inventor, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin responded on his blog, “I had a happy and successful career and plotted to steer you in that direction. However, the plethora of electronic devices I fostered on you, physics and mathematics was not your cup of tea. I realized I was not you and you were not me.” Continuing, “you were and are the delight of my life. I am so grateful to your mother (Anne Pratt Slatin). We (you and me) both enjoyed the ocean, swimming, dancing, bicycling, the outdoors, reading. That was fortuitous.” In his closing statements on that referenced post, Dr. Slatin stated, “there were indeed many things you taught me, mostly by example. Who could ask for anything more?”