December 28, 2016

A Later Life Passion


I am 3 of 7. My parents had seven children and were obviously very busy earning money to raise us to adulthood. Dad worked all his life, but was also saddled with heart disease - after he lost his most lucrative job following open heart surgery, he picked himself up and became a businessman. Still working hard all hours of the morning, afternoon and evening.

I don't know when he discovered photography, but do know I was a late teen by then. Dad purchased a camera and gear and began frequenting a local camera shop on the search for good magazines and talk about taking pictures.
  
My sister was recalling a certain instance where my father insisted on taking her picture on the porch of our grandparent's home on Baraga Avenue in Marquette, Michigan, the day after his father died. She was, of course, asking him not to as she had been crying. But he told her something like - family and a record of family is very important and this picture would be part of her history.

Anyone was fair game for his picture taking and his interest grew - so he began collecting a variety of lenses to expand the depth of his photography. Family was of utmost importance to dad...a continuity through photographs, essential. Sadly, many of those he took have disappeared, some destroyed by basement floods, others went poof.

I think of all my nephews and nieces - the ones who knew dad and the ones who were born after his early death. Many of these young people have missed his strength, humor, the way he liked to get you to laugh, his walk. Rumor has it that dad spent a couple years of his early life on a boat (ship), as we were from a sailing family, and never lost his special way of walking - sauntering side to side like balancing on moving water.

I have made a decision to include my own photos in this blog. Some are okay - none professional looking - yet. You see, two of my own children are interested in photography, one earning an award for a stunning photo taken in Japan. She has promised to help me learn to take pictures and recently spent time patiently showing me what all I can do with my camera. I've been encouraged to take photography classes and am eager to begin - and hope to make dad proud.



8 comments:

  1. Dad really got into the depths of photography when Mark was born, taking black and white pics and color pics and buying new equipment. I had taken mom to Sears one day for her to buy blouses for work and she went to use her Sears credit card and it was over the limit, she was soooo mad. Dad had used it to buy some lenses or such.

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    1. I think after years of giving up what interested dad because of having to care for so many people - it was healthy for him to find a particular hobby he loved. Funny about the credit card.

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    2. Connie, I heard that dad was born on that boat on the Detroit River and didn't walk on land until he was over the age of 1, maybe 18 months. There's that newspaper article with his picture on it with him walking on the dock.

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    3. I will need to find the newspaper article about dad's birth. Thanks.

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  2. So nice to see you out there blogging after our class last summer. I too have a bag of camera equipment that was my dads. I used it quite a bit when my boys were in high school. I've been doing a lot with digital lately, even taking an online class for inspiration. Film is the tricky part these days with the old tried and true cameras. Love the addition of pictures to your blog! Please check out my blog endeavors and comment. Pulp Paper & Pigment. Keep em coming!

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    1. Linda, it is good to see you here and thanks. I've been in contact with our Interlochen teacher, Philip, and he has been helpful in this blog. I look forward to learning more photography so can enhance my writing. I look forward to reading your blog. Congratulations.

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  3. I really enjoyed these stories about Uncle Don, Connie. I remember him and his brilliant smile and infectious laugh very well but didn't know about his passion for photography.

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    1. Dad loved making people laugh, and was good at it. I saved all his letters to me and they are hilarious. Dad started photography apparently around 1971, and just increased his interest. I found a few other cameras of his and will have to see if the film has pictures still. Thanks Donna.

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