Dear Dad: thank you for these gifts

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  • In memoriam

    I’ve reached another of life’s milestones this week.  My dear father has gone.  As they say, he’s passed away.  Or as I prefer to say, he’s died.  He lived to nearly 81, so I was lucky to have so many years to share with him.

    Inspired by Dad

    I inherited my parents’ desire to create art and my father painted and took photographs.  I was about 7 when he bought me a Kodak 125.  And what an annoying camera that was for a child.  Why did what I saw through the view finder not come out on the print?  Eventually I learnt to compensate for that difference between what the viewfinder and what the lens saw.  And I used that camera until I was 19.  The photograph below was shot in Italy enhanced by the early morning light.

    Using my Kodak 125, one of the last sets I took using that camera.

    Using my Kodak 125, one of the last sets I took using that camera.

    Upgrading from the Kodak 125 to Canon F1

    So Dad gave me his Canon F1 and lenses.  Switching from the feather light Kodak 125 to the Sherman tank of the Canon was too much for me.  I loved the results but after a year I bought a Pentax compact. Which I sort of regret because there are plenty of technical skills I still lack as a photographer.  This next early picture captures my Dad’s humour and whilst we had no Chris Killip angst in our family, I think here I was inspired by those photographers who shot their domestic lives.  Dad was chief of washing up in our house which is what he was doing here.

    My Dad washing up
    Life on the street
    It was my Dad who introduced me to street photography.  He didn’t do much himself but he loved the work of those early pioneers and in particular Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt and Norman Parkinson.  He never commented on my own pictures but he encouraged me to learn from looking at others.  And that has set me on a path I love; discovering the work of other photographers.  And also has culminated in this blog which is mainly of street photography.

    Flowers and still lives

    As an artist my Dad loved painting flowers.  Not in the wild, but as a still life at home.  He would say, “I’ve only got a day before it changes.”  So there was the challenge for him in it too.  His colour palette was very different to mine; muted greys, blues, greens with dashes of yellow or pink.  I’m quite the opposite preferring the bright colours that dazzle in sunshine.  But I still love photographing flowers.  So I’ve selected these eight pictures from 2011 in his memory.  For you Dad, with all my love.  Thanks for setting me off on this great photographic adventure.

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