This post was originally published October 22, 2015.
My grandfather was the photographer in our family. He shot with a Canon - a T70 with a 35-105mm 3.5 lens (for my fellow photo geeks). It was huge and heavy, with a patterned strap that reminded me of snakeskin.
But what I remember him using most, was his Polaroid. He loved its instant developing film – partly, I’m sure, because he loved watching my sister and me laugh joyously at the miracle of their development. He would bring it - and about a hundred extra film packs, it seemed - every visit.
My family has never been especially good at sitting still, though, so while we might have been willing to smile at the camera once or twice, we were soon on to other things.
This didn’t bother my grandfather in the least. He kept photographing us, long after we were done posing. No matter what we were doing, he was there, eye to the viewfinder, pressing the shutter, and catching the photographs as they slid out of the machine.
It drove us all a little nuts, from time to time, if I’m honest - being unused to the paparazzi-style attention, as we were.
But we also loved it.
Because by the end of his visit, we had documentation of our life together – our real, (and sometimes messy) every day life – and it was beautiful.
When I think about my own photography, the images I’m drawn to, and the ones I love to create, I can’t help but think of grandfather’s influence.
His photos are the ones I grew up with. All those moments he captured showed me – in an instant - who we really were, where I belonged, and how loved I was. Today, they bring back so many good memories and re-tell my favorite childhood stories.
I have a feeling that was exactly his intent, all along.