Recently, many of my family members have been the subject of my blog, and I’m lucky that they allow me to bring my camera into their world. Today it was my Dad who agreed to be my model, and I’m grateful that he allowed me to intrude into his personal space for a bit. Whenever I ask to snap portrait shots of family members I have no expectations of them, I’m looking to gain experience, hone my focus and lighting skills, and as a bonus I’m given an opportunity to steal a little time away with just them. My Dad proved to be a very surprising and interesting subject, maybe because we stepped out of our familial roles for a few moments and I was able to see both the man I knew as a young person, and the man I know today.
As a child all of my cousins were pretty terrified of my Father. He was always fair and loving, but he was tough, sometimes abrupt, and with a look you knew your fate for whatever it was that you had done. That was the man who raised me, who pushed me, who cheered for me, and who helped me become the strong-willed independent woman I am today. I say all of this because while I was photographing my Father this morning I saw that the last few years have had a profound affect on him. Some of it is probably age, some retirement, but I believe the majority of the change is due to a certain five-year old who calls him “Papa”. She has somehow taken this gruff man I knew, who was tough as all hell and made him softer. I guess you could say she has created herself a “gentle giant”. It’s beautiful, and I love these photos.
“My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person…he believed in me.” Jim Valvano