My mother sent me this picture a while back and I thought I would put it up here as a storage and to share with my friends.
This is a photo of me when I was 3 years old. I don't remember this incident, but my mother tells me that I am driving a boat by the name of The Patriot up the Miles River at St Michael's, Maryland on June 10, 1985. When I first looked at this image, I had to chuckle to myself because of the camera around my neck. I made the comment to my mother in a follow up email,
"I do find it ironic that in the photo there is a camera around my neck. :) Even at three I was taking photos."
My mother's response was that the camera was on old one of hers that she gave to me, but it had no film it. What with the cost of development and film back in the days, I can see why they did this, at least for when I was three. She continued to tell me that I would take that little old non-functioning camera with me everywhere we went, taking, what I probably thought were masterpieces with every click of the shutter.
Later, as I grew older, my parents did give both me and my brother, Michael, each our own Polaroid cameras. I vaguely remember that camera. Our mother attempted to get us to take photos, and put them in a scrap book so that we would be able to remember all of the great places that they took us. Sadly, all that I wanted to do was take the photos but not the scrap books, so many of these photos ended up in a drawer at my parents home. Now that I think about them, the next time I am home, I should probably pick them up, or at least go through and scan some of the ones that I want to keep for myself. Maybe, when I find the time, I will put them into a digital photo-book for her and my father. I wonder if they would like that after all of these years. But any how, that is for another day.
She tells me that I have always had a good eye for the camera, and that my photos were always much more creative and interesting than the ones that my brother would take. Both of my parents were very proud of the pictures that I took with that little Polaroid. However, as I grew older, I apparently began to feel that carrying a camera with me on all of our vacations and outings was not the coolest thing to do, so I started leaving it behind, and teased my father when he still cared his camera with him. When I think back on this as an adult who now goes no where with out his camera, it makes me a little sad to know that I did this and how much it had to hurt him.
Knowing all of this now, I feel that it had to be no surprise to my parents when I picked back up a camera during my college years. In fact, I actually started shooting with the same old camera my father used on all of these vacations. It seems fitting when I think about it. With out me even knowing it, I have continued on where my father had left off. Granted, now, I don't still shoot with that old trustee SLR, but have moved on to a digital one, I can appreciate and understand why my father continued to take the camera despite the teasing that he would receive. And I think, when I have my own kids, that I will also buy them a cheaper digital camera so that they can experience the joys that come from taking a photography, just as much as I have re-learned.
So, thank you, Mom and Dad, for my very first camera, and encouraging me to take pictures even though there was no film. It will be an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.