Papa: A Great Man
I find beauty in all the stories I come across in my daily life. I’m constantly filling up a list and trying to figure out how to show off the interesting and amazing people I come into contact with. I want my work to be a celebration of life and for the viewer to have an emotional reaction to what they see. I may find something fascinating but if what I see doesn’t translate through the lens, I haven’t really done my job.
Over a year ago I spent a week with each of my grandpas as a part of a personal project and while I have gone over most of the photos, I haven’t really dug through all of the footage yet. I’ve been sitting on it and waiting until it felt right. This past week my Pops (my dad’s dad aka: Papa) passed away and I found myself scrolling through the photographs I hadn’t touched in over a year. It felt right and each photo had a brief memory associated with it. I quickly realized that I had a few film negatives I had scanned but never looked at and when I opened them my emotions took over.
One of the reasons I love film so much is that it really is just a glimpse in time. Once I open the shutter on my 1936 Nettar there is no going back. Each photograph is costly and I value each image highly. These photos of Pops were no different. There is something special about the few photographs I shot on film while spending a week with him. I remember waiting patiently while he was napping, laying down by the pool while he was swimming, and watching in the corner while my dad cut his hair so that I could capture a simple image and a moment in time of a great man. Seeing these innocent moments was the first time I have been emotionally moved to tears by one of my own photographs.
Thanksgiving was this week and as the family gathered it was quite obvious that Pop’s presence was missed at the dinner table. He was a hoot and plenty of memories were shared over the course of the day. While a few words on my blog can’t do him and his life justice, I feel it’s only right to share my favorite image from the week I spent with him. Pops loved the water. He had stories for days about swimming in Pittsburg, diving in college, and he looked forward to every Tuesday and Thursday when he was able to go and swim in the pool. It was obvious that he felt at home in that pool and I think there was a part of him that felt like a kid every time his toes touched the water. He was a great man and he laid a strong foundation for me but I will never forget that at the end of the day, Pops was quite the character and definitely a kid at heart.
There is plenty to reflect on but this image will always remind me of the great man who was my Pops.