Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where I got my photography gene


During my parents’ lives together, Mom was the family photographer.

The only times I can remember Dad shooting photos was when he used a Polaroid to illustrate real estate appraisals.

I can’t recall a time when Mom didn’t own a camera. She did her best work early on when she had a Kodak double-lens reflex camera that was used at waist level and you framed the photo by looking down at a screen.

Things went to hell in a handbasket when she started using cheap cameras with eye-level viewfinders. For some reason I never could understand, her subjects always ended up skewed to the left of the frame. I was reminded of that this morning when I looked through a bunch of old prints from a box in the garage labeled “Flora Family Archive.”

She also made the classic amateur photographer mistake of standing too far from her subject.

Robert Capa, one of the truly great photojournalists of the 20th century, liked to say, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not getting close enough.”

I don’t think Mom ever heard of Robert Capa.

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