Photographing My Father
This fall I took my girl and my camera to visit my father. We drank some wine, watched the leaves change colour, spent some time riding around the back roads in his 1949 Willys Jeep, Patches. And we went off for an hour to do a portrait project I’ve been wanting to do, more and more urgently as my father and I become closer. I took my Hasselblad and a couple rolls of film – Portra 400 for colour, Ilford Delta 400 for black and white – and photographed him with Patches. My father has always had something like a symbiotic relationship with automobiles; I couldn’t imagine photographing him any other way. My father, too, is a photographer. He doesn’t take the cameras out anymore, but once a photographer, always a photographer. He doesn’t like the idea of learning to shoot digital, so it seemed right to photograph him on film.
Photographs are more than images. They are connections, and memories. They are, some of them, powerful beyond words. These photographs will remain some of the most valuable things I own. If, then, photographs hold moments, then best we don’t let those moments pass us by. Photograph the ones you love: none of them, nor any us, lasts as long as we want.
The photographs above are straight out of my 1980-something Hasselblad C/M with a Zeiss 80/2.8 lens. No tweaks in Lightroom or Photoshop. No sharpening. Just low-res scans from the lab. As much as I love digital, there is something extraordinary about the look, feel, and tactility of film. You won’t get dynamic range like this from digital. I’ve got a year-long portrait project coming up and I’m shooting it with my Hasselblad, a newer Mamiya 645, and a bucket of film. Can’t wait. The photographs below were shot by my girl, Cynthia Haynes.