I pulled this piece from a website I set up in 2014, as I was just beginning to explore possibilities and opportunities for photographers. (scenealongtheway.com) I had forgotten about this essay, but it fits well with my Father’s Day sermon (previous blog entry). It also gives me pause when I realize that it was this very week in 2005 when Dad contracted Pneumonia from which he died on July 31…
Well, actually, this is a new phase of a long journey. One that began in my earliest memories as we trekked to the camera club at Eastman Kodak where my Dad worked as a chemist. Dad was a photo bug who especially liked working with stinky chemicals in the dark room. I didn’t understand during those early childhood years that he was really a fine photographer as well. I just thought it was weird standing in a totally dark room with only an odd red light while Dad fished papers in and out of different liquids, finally hanging them all on lines to dry like the laundry out back of the cottage.
Dad had a knack for helping my siblings and me see and experience our surroundings in almost magical ways. Petoskey stones could become owls, given a bit of paint and some patience.
Mushrooms would leave a perfect gill pattern if one took the cap, placed it on black paper, and left it covered with a bowl overnight. Cherry tomatoes tasted like warm sweet candy when picked right off his plants in the late afternoon. My worms always caught the best fish when I tiptoed out of the lake cottage with Dad before the sun came up. There was magic in those mornings, sitting quietly in the middle of Sugar Lake, watching the sunrise reflecting off the lake’s glassy surface as we waited for the largest northern pike or the fattest sunfish to arrive for its breakfast.
But I digress! Now, half a century removed from those memories, I have finally taken an enormous step in my own artistic journey. My first set of photographs (and the cards and coasters enhanced by those images) are being adjudicated for admission into an artisans’ center. I was not nervous as I carried my precious cargo to the desk…..merely curious as to whether my work would fit with that of other artists who have traveled this path before me. Some are friends of many years. Some are friends I have yet to meet. But all, it seems, have their own unique style and perspective on the world around us. I grow richer and deeper as I study their work, absorbing colors, textures, lines and symmetry. There is magic in that place, with personality that reaches out from the creations of artists who see the world with new eyes.
I wonder, Dad, if you knew what you were instilling in each of your six children all those years ago? You were an artist, shaping the souls of our generation. I wonder if that magic will again reach beyond time and place? There is artistry in the world around us. There is power in the lens of a camera. The magic lies in what is “scene along the way”……and then shared for others to see as well.