When I was ten and living in Massachusetts, my paternal grandfather sent me a small instamatic camera through the mail from Oregon. As I recall, this gift came out of the blue, possibly not even connected to a birthday or Christmas, which was highly unusual. In 1972, you paid for film development and didn’t find out till afterwards if the photos were any good, so I tried to make every photo count.
I didn’t have a knack for photography, but over the course of the rest of his life, my grandpa gave me two, maybe three, more cameras. It never occurred to me to wonder why I got the old camera when he upgraded, and this is still a little mysterious to me. Did he give similar things to his other grandchildren? Did he think I’d be good at it? I don’t know the answers.
At the beginning of this month, a neighbor told me about a photographer who’d invited people to take a photo a day for the month. I was intrigued, and also a little intimidated. Then I remembered the nature photography class Luken had take as a nine-year-old. I asked if he’d come into the yard with me for a lesson. In ten minutes, I feel like he made me a better photographer than I’d managed to become through trial and error. The results are below. See if you can tell which was about the lesson on contrast, which about angle or perspective.
There was something so sweet about finding myself with my son in the yard taking pictures; it’s something my grandfather started almost 45 years ago, and I might finally be getting the hang of it.