I’ve Turned into My Dad

Neighborhood Roses - Austin, Texas

Neighborhood Roses – Austin, Texas

I’ve been lucky enough to work from home during this pandemic. And, to get exercise, walking around the neighborhood. Often, carrying a small camera to observe and make images, even resorted to taking pictures of flowers — something I’ve rarely done. I’ve come to realize that I’ve turned into my dad. Photographically. Let me explain.

In the basement of my parent’s house, a time capsule of long-abandoned items, I found a photography book. My father’s photograph was featured as one of the winners of a contest. A black and white of people looking up at a solar eclipse, as he captured them from a couple of floors up shooting down. It was a surprising side at my father’s past that I never knew.

Square, shallow depth of field photos of his wedding, and my birth were also telltale signs of his earnest photographic past. He used a twin-lens reflex camera and shot with color film back in the early 1960s. As the years progressed, his cameras got smaller and his photos, more snapshot-like. By the digital age, his transmutation was complete. Using a modest point and shoot camera, and after a short stint with Olympus micro 4/3, it was the iPhone all the way.

Snapshots of the family, then to Hawaiian landscapes, gave away to closeups of flowers. Over the 60 years, he evolved from a genuine photographer to a casual documenter of flowers. I always wondered why. As my interest in photography increased, he became satisfied with colorful, pretty things. I later found out, he had very little interest in black and white anymore or street photography.

But, perhaps as I grow older and am temporarily confined by this epidemic, I’m beginning to understand. Photographs don’t need to make social statements. Documenting pretty flowers, tasty quarantine meals, and your loved ones might be all that’s required.

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