Over the years, my father and I had a hard time connecting with one another. Who would have thought it would happen in yet another one of my hobbies?
My father has always been an interesting person, and yet I always found it hard to connect with him on many levels. We didn’t ever really have that much in common. growing up. He was always a real guy’s guy. He hunted and fished, played football and other sports, and had two younger brothers that he had to look after a lot.
I, on the other hand, was a much softer person. I didn’t care for sports, whether watching them or playing them. I mostly spent my time drawing and watching cartoons or playing video games. I was more interested in the arts. I always thought that this created a barrier between us. My parents had divorced when I was very young, so the only time I spent with him was every other weekend and maybe once during the week. We went to the movies a lot over the years, usually seeing two films every Saturday, sometimes 3 if we could squeeze it in (once we saw 4 because it was impossible to leave the theater due to a tornado blowing through town).
At that point, I saw movies as our only thing in common, and eventually grew to love going to the movies with him because we both loved the movie experience and could talk about it for hours….then the day came…
I had gone off to college, and eventually came across my first Lomography camera, the Diana F+. As soon as he saw it in my hands, we found a whole new level to our relationship. He showed me his old 35mm Nikon that my mom got for him for a wedding present, and showed me all the other medium format photos he took when they had just gotten married. He helped me figure out my Yashica Electro a relative had given me. We shared photo tips with each other. As a kid, I always had a sketchbook with me when we went places, of which he usually discouraged bringing with me. Now, each time I go with him, he made sure I was following one of the major Lomography rules: “Take your camera everywhere you go.”
Being as camera shy as I am, he didn’t like being photographed, but he helped me take amazing shots and encouraged me to plan each shot and to not give up if the results weren’t what I expected.
Since my new obsession of Lomography had taken off, it drew him in to my world of art, and when he finally saw my collective works at my college senior art show, it clicked for him. he was finally seeing the world through my eyes.
I guess the moral of this story is: if you don’t connect well with your parents on a usual basis, find out their hobbies, and maybe you’ll find one you like as well and will bring you closer. my relationship with my father has never been better.
To my father, Gary Wayne Webb: I love you, and thank you for supporting me in my desire for art, even when you didn’t understand it. Happy Fathers Day!