Some of you closest to me know that sadly my Dad passed away earlier this year. Being the soft (ahem!) Northern romantic that he was, he picked Valentines Day as his time to leave us - he never did like it! In the subsequent weeks myself and the family were going through some old photos and looking back over Dad's career and work life. It got me thinking just how important images (and printing) can be for all of us, and how perhaps as some of us landscape photographers chase our 'created images' we shouldn't forget to take a few 'pictures' along the way...
After leaving Music College in Manchester my Dad went on to be a professional Trumpet player and musical arranger. After a period of playing he also moved into teaching and specifically he set up the Manchester Youth Stage Band which was the only band of its kind in the North and mirrored the National Youth Jazz Orchestra which was very much centered around the South. The subsequent huge success of the band led to him appearing in certain Newspaper articles and it's with great joy that not only did we still have the original cuttings but also some of the prints that were made at the time by the photographer - well done that photographer!!
Without these prints being made at the time I wouldn't have been able to scan them and store them for generations to come. I can even re-print them as necessary, and although this particular picture (above) is a posed photo for a press photographer it also tells a story nicely about Dad. It sets the scene of what he does, Trumpet lying to the side and music manuscript on the desk. And for those who knew up him best the familiar left hand holding of the pen can bring back memories of him working away at home around the family.
Among some of the press images we stumbled across this beauty (above) - none of us ever got the story of why he was pointing at the bread but no doubt it was an advertisement or similar in the local paper. On the surface it's a light-hearted picture to cherish but for me I can see that smile on his face that I also saw all through his life and even into the final days. Again, the importance of this being printed at the time and stored away can't be underestimated for us now to reflect upon.
I for one am very guilty of partitioning my photography into solo trips into the landscape, it's very rare that I'd have my camera out at a family gathering. With young nieces this is surely a shame because I should be utilising my skills to capture moments of their youth that they can enjoy in many years to come. It's so alien to how I would normally work photographically but that's the point, it isn't work, it isn't a job, we should all feel no pressure to just shoot away in those circumstances, even with just our smartphones. And, let's all make sure we do some printing so we can keep these memories for years and generations to come...
If you're seeing your Father, Dad, Old Man (whatever you want to call him!) today, why not make sure you grab a picture or two for the future :)