Father and son, father and daughter
Once in a while I will go back to old photos because they are able to refresh long lost memories and experiences. The photo at the top of this post accompanied the text below when I originally posted this photo on the web. It is as true today as when I first put my feelings to words in 2007.
One of the wonderful things about photography is that evokes different feelings in everyone. Each of us experiences something different when viewing pictures. That is the case with the above photo.
I have taken many thousands of photos over the years both as a hobby when I was a youngster and as a photo-illustrator later in life as a career.
Each picture feels special when taken. Maybe it’s because you connect with who you are photographing or because the photo-illustration at the time was both challenging and puzzling. How best to create a thing of beauty that also served it’s purpose for the assignment?
But of the many of thousands of photos from the past twenty-five years, this one is a little more special than the rest.
It’s not because it’s a great photo and it’s not because it’s different.
I have seen many like it here on Flickr. It’s because of what I see when I look at it. A father and his daughter.
My youngest daughter Brooke, asked me on Sunday afternoon if we could go out and take pictures later in the day. I told her that depending upon how the weather looked we might but that we wouldn’t know until a couple of hours before sunset.
Early in the evening I loaded up the car while Brooke and her sister and friend were playing outside. Thinking that she would be more interested in being with friends, I backed out of the garage ready to head out. Seeing me, she stopped me in the driveway, said goodbye to her friends and hopped into the car with me.
It was a beautiful Sunday evening driving in the country. The sun was dropping in the sky making the shadows strong and bringing the countryside to life. Light was skimming over the trees and through the freshly grown grasses making the surroundings seem surreal. As we drove, we chatted about school, about friends, about photography and made each other laugh with the corny jokes that only those that are close to one another appreciate.
Shortly before the sun went down, my daughter spotted the above two trees alone in a field and said that they might make a good picture. I pulled over and while we were laughing and talking we snapped a few pics. We took a few more at another location and hurried home as the sky darkened.
Only after I processed this photo and was looking at it late that evening did I remember back to when I was a little boy out alone with my father on the very same kind of evening, holding his hand and feeling so safe and loved and belonging. Having that special time with him made me feel so special and important. I hadn’t thought of this time with him for some forty years or more.
My father died a few years later when I was seven years old. And what I have left of him are some long ago memories. At seven years of age, how well can a child know their parents?
And so it seemed special to me that when I looked at this picture, that I saw my daughter and myself and also my father and myself that forty years ago. Three souls connected together in a large and wondrous world.
Photographs like memories can indeed be special things.
And the circle continues…