Have you traced back your interest in photography and the arts to its origin? What or who was the catalyst?
Someone or something is owed credit for your passion and love for photography, but also blame for the thousands upon thousands of dollars that have flown out of your wallet. But do you really know what set you on the path of the camera? I thought I did, until last month.
For all my living memory, I've liked creating images and videos. I used to excitedly borrow the family camera or even a disposable on a day out, and it never ceased. I was therefore confident that photography was in some way ingrained in me from birth — a preordained destination for my creativity. Of course, my creativity was cultivated by my parents, but I felt that my love for visual arts was just a part of me. Then, a forced walk down memory lane made me see things differently.
Whether you read my story or not, make sure you leave your own in the comment section below.
My Story, My Regret
A year ago, my grandma died after a lengthy battle with bone cancer. My grandad — who had been married to my Grandma for 69 years — fell apart. From being the fittest 89-year-old I've ever seen, he disintegrated with grief. We grew close as he struggled with the loss of his life partner and his rapidly diminishing health, but try as I might, there was no saving him. A light had gone out and could not be reignited. 363 days after my Grandma had passed away, my Grandad followed.
From when they first started "courting" to their 60th wedding anniversary.
As we begun the daunting task of sorting through his belongings, I was presented with boxes and boxes of VHS videotapes and photographs. Truly an unfathomable amount. I immediately remembered that for all of my life, he had a camera or video recorder to his face. In the last year or two, that had taken a backseat, as he was the sole carer for his terminally ill wife, but it had been a prevalent part of his life for decades upon decades.
His love for photography and videography was much different to most, however. He was never concerned with the artistic side of the medium; he seemed to only care about recording the moments. He would take pictures of every event or holiday, and he would record each and every party, occasion, and even to the horror of the rest of us, the funeral of his oldest friend. In my own grief, I had forgotten his relentless motivation to record moments, usually to the discomfort and tepid response of his family. Suddenly, I was sat among 60 years of recorded memories, and the point of it all seemed more obvious and important.
I decided I had to look through the boxes. There were some neatly arranged albums, some Ziploc bags with photos stuffed in, and hundreds of loose images and negatives. As I made my way through crowds of people I didn't know and family members before I'd met them, I started to uncover images from when I was a child. I couldn't believe how wrong I was about my love for photography, and I was wracked with guilt. With each image of me and my grandad, I remembered 10 times as many similar moments. I'd always credited him with teaching me how to play golf, how to gamble, and how carefully money should be handled, but he was owed more than that. He had taught me a love for photography.
From when I was merely a rounded, rosy-cheeked fleshy blob through to the acne-littered teenager I was to become, my grandad was teaching me how to use his cameras. I had an obsession with climbing trees, and despite how precious he was with his money and possessions, he would let me take his expensive video camera up into the trees to make nature documentaries from the top. The thought of handing my camera to a child so they could climb 15 or 20 feet up a tree with it makes my toes curl. But for whatever reason, he was ok with it, and then kept my "documentaries."
It's a bittersweet revelation, as while I have more of a connection to somebody I grew very close to in the last year and am still grieving, I never got to thank him and give him the credit he was due. That leniency and encouragement to take his camera and to go create content might have seemed like the innocuous amusement of a child at the time, or perhaps it was the chance to share a passion with a loved one, but it has subsequently shaped my life and enriched it with purpose. All these years later and I'm still among the foliage, taking pictures and videos of nature and without once making the connection.
So, if you can trace your passion back to a source, I implore you to thank them and take some time to appreciate the profound effects it has had on you.
What's Your Story?
Why do you love photography? Who got you into it and how? Have you ever truly thanked them? Share your story in the comment section below.