Photography Is Writing With Light
Do you know the origin of the word 'Photography'? It was created from the Greek root words "photo", which means light, and "graph". which means writing. After giving much thought to it's derivative meaning, my role as a photographer has began to take on a greater meaning. As a photographer I am writing with light. The images I capture are not stagnant, but are telling a story; a narrative that often goes deeper and beyond any words.
Today I deviate a bit from my gentleman's style blog to shed "light" (photo) and "write" (graph) to tell a story that resonates deep within me; so deep that I often cannot find the words to express the mix of labile emotions that rush to the surface.
Every Father's day provokes within me a mixed bag of emotions. The happiness of observing the celebration of so many son's with their fathers; coupled with my reality of growing up fatherless and the psychological consequences that accompany it.
To have never grasped hands with a father, roughhoused with him, rubbed shoulders with him in a physical way, especially when he lived within touching distance, is a deprivation beyond what most people can imagine. In some ways my father wounded me and left me for dead; unfortunately for many years I thought I was too. However, by giving what I didn't get, I gradually I began to feel life circulating through my veins and into my heart; I began to feel the pump of my arteries and the tingling in my capillaries. The law of reciprosity had worked. The bread I had cast upon the waters began slowly to return to me and the black hole deep within me began filling up.
The Lessons I Learned When My Father Left
Through his absence my father taught me some valuable lessons. He taught me that life isn't fair; that there are no guarantees of love, except the love of God. He taught me that despite what pre-dispositions we are born with, or what psychological effects may be associated with our childhood experiences, we ultimately make our own choices of whom we are, or what we will become. The absence of my father mandated that I believe enough in myself to overcome the disadvantages of growing up without a father. My father forced me to believe that I can determine my life and my future, and I thank him for teaching me these lessons albeit his absence.
Perhaps, the most valuable lesson my father taught me through his absence is that it is possible to "Give What You Didn't Get". Without knowing he was teaching me, in my father's absence he made me painfully aware of my feelings of worthlessness and my lack of self-esteem. This prompted me early in life to enter into an agreement with myself to never be the cause of such feelings in my own child. I formulated a mission not to focus on what I didn't receive but to extended my self by giving to my own child, and to others fatherless children the love and affection I had not received from a father. The law of reciprocity went to work. Eventually, the attention, affirmation and the love and affection I yearned for as a child began to return to me from places I had never imagined.
Give Up The Fantasy of What Could Have Been
In order to receive back the bread I'd cast upon the waters, I had to fully give up the fantasy of "what could have been", and embrace the reality of "what is". This is easier said than done. It is only natural to want the approval of a father; for him to be there to guide you along life's path and to give you the "right of passage into manhood". Every child deserves a father that has made deposits within him or her from which they can draw upon throughout their lives. However, regardless of how much every child wants and deserves that; it is far from reality. Fatherless men must first give up that fantasy because it's never going to happen. However, fatherless men who "Give What They Didn't Get' and let go of the fantasy of what could have been allow themselves to become better fathers and mentors. They rid themselves of the false filters of pretense that so many present day fathers hide behind. They also escape the impasse of self-pity and self-doubt causing their lives to be more satisfying and fulfilling.
Write Your Own Story
As I looked closely at what I wrote with light in these photographs; as I peered deeply into the eyes of the children and the eyes of their fathers; I realized that they are one and the same. Although in different worlds separated years apart, they all want and need the same things. Regardless of what world we inhabit we want to feel that we are important enough for someone to care about. We want to feel that we truly matter to someone. Fathers I entreat you to write your own story. Not with photographs tucked away in an album, but write your own story by "Giving What You Didn't Get" to your own children and to the fatherless. When you do, something very miraculous will happen. You will fill the void in yourself by simply giving of yourself to others.