This post is in honor of my father who passed earlier this year.
His photography centered around documenting family events all through my childhood. He sought to commit to eternity those events some would consider mundane. What seemed a slow progression of photos of the same people year after year became a record of growth and a testament to consistency of family love. While my photography expanded there is no arguing that my photography starts and ends with family. How did he get me started in photography?
My father normalized photography. He often had a camera on him and I have always done the same. He normalized upgrading with the times when it made sense. When Kodak Instant was in Vogue he had a Kodak Instant. When Polaroid became popular he had an SX-70. From there he moved on to SLRs with his wonderful Pentax ME Super. With that example I see no one way to photograph, not one brand, no one medium, etc.
Even as a young child he trusted me with his gear. He trusted my framing. Trusted my mistakes would help me to grow even if it meant a spent flash bulb, Polaroid exposure, or frame of film. Trusted my eye rather than trying to project his ideas on to me. He trusted me. And as a child that meant the world to me and really made me fearless in my growth.
His trust was given freely because he first taught me the basics. He taught me exposure, shutter speed, the significance of ISO, when to use flash, proper focusing technique, etc. By actual lessons and by example. He was a patient teacher. With these skills instilled he set me free.
Dating myself here, but when I was grade school age after seeing how serious I was about learning my way around his SX-70, my father gifted me with my very own Polaroid One Step and supplied me with all the film and flash bars I needed. This is as amazing to me now as it was then. As a result, whenever my kids show and interest, I gift them with a camera of their own to use.
He encouraged me to keep shooting. His photography never ended. He took his tried and true Pentax ME Super with him even recently to the Grand Canyon. It packed it in on this trip, so when he returned my wife and I gifted him with a replacement ME Super and a digital Pentax SLR and he used them both. He also encouraged me to continue on and learn other photography skills.
He was a wonderful man.
I endeavor to continue his legacy by doing the same for my children.