Thursday, June 18, 2009

Always a photographer


Frederick listening to the radio.

My wife's father Frederick died last week. He was only 67. He had struggled with his health for many years. He died June 9, peacefully, surrounded by family. We should all be so lucky.
Frederick and I had a number of things in common, one of which was that we don't like to have our picture taken. Often when I'm at a portrait assignment and the subject is nervous about being photographed, I tell the story about how I hated having my picture taken as a geeky-looking high schooler, so I was always the one to volunteer to pick up the camera. Years later I've turned my dislike for being a subject of pictures into a career in photography. It always seems to put people at ease knowing I dislike having my picture taken as much as they do.
Frederick may not have been a willing subject, but he was a good one. His natural, thoughtful nature made him interesting to photograph, whether he knew I was taking the picture or not. I took the picture at the top one Christmas from the end of our hall as Frederick, a retired United Methodist clergy, was listening to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on the radio. He rarely missed the annual broadcast from Kings College in Cambridge, England. I think the picture shows Frederick's thoughfulness, intelligence and spirituality.
I take pictures for a living, but I don't just turn off my visual curiosity when I'm sitting around with my family. Sometimes my family may get annoyed with my sometimes-excessive visual curiosity, I feel it's important to document those people and places that are important in our lives. Don't let the opportunity to take pictures of your loved ones pass by, even when they shy away from the camera.

1 comment:

Chopp said...

Sorry to hear about the passing of your father in law, Pat. That photo seems to capture a lot of personality.