Remembrances and Musings

Since the passing of my grandfather in April, I haven’t had the chance to reflect or absorb its finality or nature. I haven’t been able to, or more accurately, wanted to, contemplate and comprehend the impact he has had upon me, as an artist and as a person. It is easier to remain busy like many other Americans with a Type A+ personality, and push it out of the forefront of my mind.

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It is easier not to deal with things than to deal with them.

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With my time as photographer at the Air Force Academy, I am no stranger to photographing funerals. It is actually one of the ways I feel that I am most giving back, by deeply connecting in sorrow with those left behind, and honoring those who have gone. It didn’t hurt any less whether or not I knew them personally (yes the ones I had a personal connection with cut my heart more deeply), but I was able to grieve with them all from behind my lens, our collective tears creating an unspoken bond.

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As one of the photographers in the family, (four of us professionally, three blood relatives and one by marriage) I chose to lend my love and support by contributing the only way I really knew how…by working.
I photographed the funeral of my grandfather, and conveniently semi-detached myself from the sea of emotions my family was feeling. I essentially missed his funeral in the essence of the moment. While I was capturing the moment for others, as well as for myself.

I recently edited those photographs, and as expected, the emotions of the day came flooding back. It is amazing to me how a photograph can be so powerful.
I showed the images to my grandmother and watched her reaction as she relived the day, the loss of her partner of 65 years.

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Seeing my father react to the loss of his father, a stoic portrait of composure gracefully interrupted by tears; makes me realize that there will be a day I am in the same position…but not from behind the lens of a camera.

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