Life evolving behind the lens

It’s a Family Affair

Not too long ago, I stumbled across an article that shared tips on getting children into photography. It was a really good article and reminded me of the photography history in my family. I have shutterbugs on both sides of the family tree. My dad; his oldest brother; my mom’s dad; and at least three cousins have all dabbled in photography that goes beyond the family/vacation snapshot. Of everyone that’s still alive, I’m probably the most active on the photography front. I’ve even starting tabulating what it would cost to set up my dream DSLR rig. Hey, I want good equipment when I go to see the Olympics in Rio in 2016!

So what about my family of shutterbugs? I admit I know far less than I should. I do know that my dad took many photos with an SLR camera that he used right up until I graduated high school. Likewise, my mom’s dad was the original owner of Kaito (my Yashica). As for my uncle, I have some pictures that he took that were in my grandmother’s collection up until her death. My uncle is an arts enthusiast and has explored many types of visual and performing arts. My time spent in his company has exposed me more to his paintings and percussion-related endeavors. That is not to say that he’s not interested in other art forms. He made a journal for me when I was 10 years old, one that gave me a space outside of my diary to try out some creative writing. Given the age of the photos (taken when my dad was in middle school) and my relatives’ other interests at the time, I’ve concluded that the same man who created my first creative writing journal is also responsible for these photos. They’re actually very small prints, a format not seen today and most likely not having been taken on 35mm film. The negatives are long one, so I actually have very little information on what was used to capture these shots. I’ll figure it out some day.

Why’s that? One of the things I gained from my family was an appreciation of technology. My mom’s dad actually taught me how to use a computer when I was five. He also showed me many of his old slides and some of the older cameras he and my grandmother still had even after the technology was phased out. As a result, I discovered the importance of appreciating the old and the new. This dual understanding came in handy in the middle of the previous decade when digital photography became more widespread among the prosumer and consumer audiences. So while I have not worked with every format ever invented, I’ve developed a desire to learn more about them. This is one reason why I don’t want a Nikon D800 right now. I understand that its capabilities are designed to match that of a medium format camera, something I may not be ready to try for a long time. I will probably spend more time learning about the lost film formats before even considering picking up a D800. It’s a habit picked up from my family, to look at the past before plunging headfirst into the future. With my family’s introductions into the practice and art of photography, though, I know I’ll be snapping photo for many years to come. AS my mother once said, it’s what I do.

billboards from years gone by
long forgotten and not pushing daisies
into the caboose
no storm will dampen the color
old embracing the new


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