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Memory Lines (3)

Nature vs Nurture

Never mind being my father's daughter, it goes way beyond that.  I am Daddy's girl:  spoiled, doted upon, loved, and enabled by the mentor of all mentors, because I am fortunate enough to share an interest he has carried with him most of his life.  My dad has been lecturing me since birth about photography, with the greatest patience, and with no real expectation of success.

Last summer, when I decided to embark upon a daily project that would necessitate the use of a waterproof camera, I asked for one. And boy did I ever receive.

I had no idea quite how robust this camera was, until I saw the photograph of him with it in a cave in the 1960s.  I guess I should know by now that any camera my father gives me will have been tested not just in the field, but probably under it as well.  His requirements for a piece of gear are far from standard; he would quickly sell any camera whose lens settings couldn't be easily read by the light of a carbide lamp.  

There are few people - maybe not any people - who understand me the way that my father does. He has always known exactly what to say, and when to say nothing at all.  I am afflicted by the same brand of all-consuming passion for things that interest me; since I am female, and mom, however, I must find a balance.  My dad would come home from work, change, set up, and print or process film until the wee hours; the time I spend on printing usually requires sacrificing family time.

As much as I am so thankful that I have my own darkroom, I actually enjoy using his more, because it brings with it the possibility of hanging out with him.  It's strange to be the one working while he sits on a stool and talks shop.  In my mind and heart, I'm the one at the end of the room, playing in the glow of the safelights, happy to be spending time with my daddy. I can't say he hasn't nurtured my love of photography, but I also can't say it wasn't already in my nature to begin with.

It means a great deal to me to be able to share all of this with my father, but more than anything I am just so thankful to be his daughter. You're the best of the best, Dad!