and he said, “Hi, are you home? Will you be there for a while?” (i was in my jammies, & it was about 7:30pm-ish, the only place i had planned on going was to sleep.)
But there was something in his tone of voice that seemed…different, so i kind of panicked,”Is something wrong?!”
“No…i should be there in about 20 minutes, i think it is worth waiting for” he said.
Let me tell you about my Dad. I never needed to look up a word in the dictionary or encyclopedia, he always knew what the word meant, he seems to know the answers to everything. When Google came into being, i thought it seemed so familiar…and then i realized Google was replacing my dad. I don’t have to ask my father so many questions. My Dad is Google. He is an Optometrist. BUT, while in optometry school, he supported himself with photography. He had a Hasselblad (just to give you an idea as to the value for a Hasselblad, body only, TODAY price-$21,9950.) & he swore by Zeiss lenses, which he put on his Contax SLR.(Contax…the only one i could find, was on eBay. it was a 2004(!) 645 medium Format SLR 80mm-selling for 5,990.00)
I am blind in my right eye. My father had me wear an eye patch, with skull & crossbones, when i was two & three years old, to MAKE the RIGHT eye work. When i was 15, my dad took me to the DMV to get my learner’s permit. I failed the eye exam. The woman behind the desk handed me a piece of paper. She said, “i’m sorry, but you’re going to have to ask your eye doctor to sign this form before we do anything else” I put the paper down on the counter & slid it over to my father, who then signed it. the woman behind the counter freaks out & says, rather loudly, “YOU BROUGHT YOUR EYE DOCTOR WITH YOU?!?!?!” My father slid the paper back to me & i handed it back to her…and i say, “Yes, i did” long pause because this is AWESOME. “but he is also my Dad”
When i was four years old we moved to an old Vermont farmhouse. He built, by himself, a darkroom, in the basement.(He built, by himself, his own Optometry practice.) He taught my twin brother & i how to develop 35mm, 120 & 220mm film (boring). When the film was dry, he would show us the magic of turning white paper into photographs (AWESOME).
I gave my parents a book of my photography, images seen on this blog, for Christmas. I thought they might like it, but i did have my doubts. However, a few days later i came by to pick up my twin brother & my father told me how much, “we’ve been enjoying the book i had given them.” i was shocked really. i just assumed they had seen my photos here, on my blog.
So my door bell rings last night & i open the door & he has a box from Amazon in his hands. I thought he was giving me another gift. He said he found it in front of my door. Oh. We took a seat in the living room & he asks me to go get my (BROKEN) Nikon D90. I bring him the bag & hand him my camera. He looks at it for a while, shoots a few frames. I told him that in order to see the distortion on the left side, i would have to upload it to my computer. (I also told him how much a new body cost $800 i tried not to cry when i said this) He said that i didn’t need to. Then he asked to see my other lenses-i take them out & he puts on another lens. Then he hands me back my camera body (he removed the lens) & asks me to remove the battery. I do. Then he asks me to remove the card.i did. I thought (hoped, prayed) he knew how to fix it. He has said something the other night about something must have shifted (forgot what he said) inside the body. We sit in silence for a minute or so…Then he got up & left through the front door. (???) He returns with his Tamerac camera bag. He reaches inside it & pulls out green bubble wrap & hands it to me.
and i open it. It is a Nikon D90 body…I start to cry, i flew into his arms, sobbing so hard, i was shaking both of us. He just held me. (and i’m crying as i share this now.) After I let go of him, i ask him if this is my Mom’s camera body & how long can i borrow it. He says, “Your mother’s camera is at home…lets just say, i will never ask for this camera back”
I sat on the couch holding the body of this camera, babbling & crying…”Dad, i was going crazy. I wasn’t looking at anything, I wouldn’t allow myself to SEE. I didn’t watch the light. When i went outside, i’d look at my feet b/c i didn’t want to see anything, because i couldn’t take a photo of it. I didn’t know how much it was killing me, until now.”
i had been suppressing the NEED to look and see so well, that i didn’t understand the emotional toll it was taking on me to do so, until Dad set me free.
and he says, “Well, that is probably my fault…for teaching you. But, when I looked through your book, I finally understood what it meant to you to be a photographer…”
i said, “I don’t what to say…how much this means to me”
he said, “you already told me”
and then he left.
and he left me with my new Nikon D90. and i can’t wait to show you what i’ve missed.
I love you, Dad. Thank you for giving me back the right to see again.