You Should Have Been With Me, a photographic scrapbook of the life of fashion photographer Stan Shaffer with forewards by Eileen Ford, Anthony Haden-Guest, and James Hammond is available for purchase here.
With this site, I'm continuing for the benefit of the public what's been to date a very personal and private exploration of my father's archives.
I hope you'll enjoy my explorations of his archives and commentary, with contributions from those who were part of his life. My intention is to continue the spirit of You Should Have Been With Me, and to share in his and our words the stories that made up his exceptional life and the stories of the time in New York in which he lived.
- Justin Shaffer
The full text I wrote and sent to Dad for the epilogue of You Should Have Been With Me is below.
I’ve watched with great admiration and fascination over the past few years as you’ve started this project and poured yourself into documenting your career. For me, it has been inspiring to be a small part of and has shed tremendous light on my understanding of you and to a large extent, myself as well. I’ve always been fascinated with your stories of a period of time in New York that many are intrigued by and you were truly at the epicenter of. Now that you are in France it doesn't feel like home here anymore. I miss you horribly, and wish that we are together now. In New York, I've often found myself searching for you, for bits and pieces that you've left behind, for a continuation of your story. Via You Should Have Been With Me, I feel as though it's a opportunity for me to show from whence we came, and a time in the city that it seems many still miss, though it's rarer to meet people who may have been there!
Over the years you've taught and exposed me to everything every man needs to know, and its only recently that I'm beginning to fully appreciate the opportunities you've created for both Allie and me. Perhaps more importantly, you've helped me develop the confidence and perspective to continue to explore the world on my own. I am still and will always be learning from you and I see you in myself every day. From your intense creativity and drive, to your childlike curiosity, to your core values and intentions, I am so proud to be your son. It's not often that the world has an opportunity to see inside and appreciate the career and character of a creator like you, and it makes me so happy to see your life's work so fittingly memorialized so that more appreciate our world.
(I dont know if you want to include this last paragraph or not - up to you, but I wanted to say it)
I've felt for some time emotionally separated from you and while largely self inflicted, not particularly close to anyone at the moment. I want you to know that I love you so much and I forgive you for the things that I have been upset about. I'm not mad anymore - mostly I just miss you. You've been a tremendous father to me, and I can only aspire to the same for my own children some day. Our life together hasn't always been easy, but it has been character building, and even when I am alone, I know that you're with me and watching over me. Thank you for being there when I needed to talk, for help concocting inappropriate text messages, for the push to go to Stuyvesant, for my first camera, for teaching me how to sail, for showing me how to love (not entirely sure i've figured this one out yet), and for letting me get away with just enough. Our chapter isn't over yet, but sometimes I feel like it's slipping away. We have some sailing and catching up to do this summer. I love you so much.
Dad passed away on June 10th, 2010, two months after I wrote this. He ended up including the first two paragraphs but omitting the third. He finished his edits of You Should Have Been With Me and sent them to the team at teNeues the night before he died.