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New Discoveries

I have recently written here about my project with the kids at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center. Last week was my third week there and was by far the most active. I delivered the kid’s photos along with their presentation boards and we spent the day assembling their photographs on the boards. This week I return to have them present their family’s stories to the rest of the class and then in March the center will hold an art exhibit of their work. Exciting times. But more than the event for me this period in my life is about new discoveries for myself.

Yes, I have always known that children are important to me, as I believe kids are the future and in so many ways the salvation of what ails our society. I have great hopes for my own children and as they grow into adulthood, I marvel at the people they are becoming. Just today my son and I had the chance to spend some time in what my daughter refers to as the ‘Man Cave’ aka, the garage. Like my own father, I too have a haven which is mistakenly thought to only hold a car and those items which are not fit for the house. My garage is a place where the projects of men begin, but the thoughts and feelings men share are spoken in private and in complete freedom. Today my 18 year old son asked about the National Stimulus Plan, what constitutes a Recession and how those things will affect his life. We spoke of the fact that my own father died when I was 21 and what it means to grow older. He told me that even though he is just one year out of high school, life is now different, less care free than before. I felt a bit of sadness for him knowing that the transition into adulthood is a difficult realization.

I shared my own fear that my elders are quickly passing away, leaving me and my cousins as the new elders of our family. It certainly is not a position I expected so early in my life, but as with all men and women, time passes more quickly than we realize and appreciate. I spoke to my son of my excitement to one day be a grandfather and he shared that one of his fears is that I may not be around long enough for that blessed day. I know his fear, as he realizes that I never had the benefit of my own father seeing the grandchildren of which he would be proud.

And as I ramble on to what may seem disjointed subjects, as of late photography has become a more involved part of my life. Five years ago I would have given anything for the opportunities I recently hold and I certainly appreciate all of the events that have transpired in that regard. I have met and continue to meet an unfathomable number of people through this craft. And it has brought so many opportunities for me to grow and expand my skills in this field. But most important, I have taken the opportunities to engage those I meet and move what I capture visually to what I can touch, see and engage. For me the most satisfying part of photography is not my name as photo credit, but for the people I have met who now call me their friend, to know my name as it is associated with my face and my voice. They may know my work, but I have discovered that I prefer that they know me instead.

At last week’s session at Telegraph Hill, a father came to pick up his son. I had just spoken to his son privately, as he definitely has the ‘eye’ for photography and it was evident in his imagery. When I asked him where he had learned about photography he simply said “My Dad showed me some things.” And when I met his father and shook his hand he told me that his son definitely had ‘the eye.’ I nodded in agreement and at that point his father had said he visited my own site and had looked at my work. I was reminded that my new discoveries are made almost every week in the form of a smile or handshake from someone that just last week I never knew.

And so as I talked with my own son in our ‘man cave’ today, I was reminded of the young boy who said to me “My Dad showed me some things” and I hoped that one day my own son would utter those same words and make his own new discoveries.

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