Thursday, September 30, 2010

it's in my blood

My parents took a safari in November 1982, to Kenya, among other places. My dad wanted to name me Kenyatta, or so the story goes, because I came along nine months after they returned. My mom won that battle, thankfully. I don't think I look like a Kenyatta at all, but who knows. I found 468 slides from their trip in a bottom desk drawer today. First of all I love looking at pictures from my family pre-me. As I've said before, my dad was a photography junkie, and inheriting all his camera equipment was the spark that got me into it as well. About a year ago my older brother had nearly 3,000 slides converted to digital format that showcased my dad's life from about 1950 up though 1990. Forty years of his life. It was an exciting life, too. He hiked through national parks, sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, and went skiing so often that he ended up buying land in Vermont and building a ski house. He was apparently the favorite bachelor uncle for quite some time before my mom came along and changed all that. My dad's life looked like so much fun. On those hikes it shows them taking breaks to pop open a bottle of wine and a can of pate. Jeez, dad, live it up why don't you?

Anyway, Africa. I've gone through six boxes so far and have seven left to peruse. I'm listening to Paul Simon's Kodachrome right now because they were all shot in Kodachrome and are therefore in amazing condition. They were also shot with a Niiikon camera, for what it's worth. Actually, the same Nikon camera that's sitting in the camera bag to the right of my bed. I got a little teary eyed looking at some of the more beautiful landscapes that my dad captured, for several reasons. The first being that I can't believe that I'll be over there too, the second being that I feel such a strong connection to my dad looking at these knowing that he and I share a passion for photography and travel, and the third being that I'm looking at landscapes and sunsets and trees and mountains that he looked at too. Twenty-eight years ago my dad looked through the viewfinder of his camera, composed a picture, focused a lens (the same lenses that I'm using now) and clicked the shutter. He took nearly 500 pictures that I'm staring at now, preparing to travel to perhaps some of the same places he went. I don't know if any of this makes sense but it's shooting through me like electricity right now, so strongly, in fact, that I had to take a break half way through looking at the slides. I miss him.


Emily Grace said...

This is beautiful. :) My mom is from China, and when I actually got to travel there and look out at the landscapes that she grew up gazing at,(the places I only saw through old photographs), I felt so much closer to her. It's a great feeling, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved this post! Thanks for sharing!