My dad was an amateur photographer. Maybe even a semi-pro. He set up his own darkroom in our basement and developed his own photos for many years. When the family was out in public together, he almost always had a camera in hand, embarrassing the hell out of all of us.
We got used to it eventually and ignored him. He wore us down. He also subscribed to a lot of photography magazines which he kept in the basement. They were full of nudes. Even more explicit than the Playboy magazines of that era. I always wondered if part of his fascination with photography had something to do with the erotic possibilities. Wish he was still around to ask.
After he returned from the war, he intended to study photography at Emory University. When I asked him why he’d chosen not to go, he said, “Because you boys came along.” Always felt a little guilty about that. My father didn’t follow his bliss because he was a responsible man of his age, putting family first before his own dreams. In any case, my father’s passion for photography, and his frustrated dreams to become a pro, inspired me to follow my own artistic career direction. Not having children allowed me to indulge in my own creative development.
Here’s one of his photos from the early 50’s. The girl in the wagon lived next door when we were living in Evansville, Indiana. Her name was Marsha, and years later, my mother told me that I considered Marsha my girlfriend. I remember how she used to swing on her swing set in the back yard adjacent to ours. She would swing very high. I was impressed, thrilled, jealous. I think my dad captured two pretty unique facial expressions on these two kids.
I’ve used photography in several of my novels and short stories. One of those stories, Over Exposure, is about someone like my father’s fascination with photography and a certain model he encounters. That story appears in my collection Over Exposure, which you can find on Amazon.
I also used photography in Body Language. Alexandra Rafferty is a crime scene photographer, and her eye for detail helps her solve the crime and save herself. When I was inventing a new protagonist for what I envision as a long term series, I again turned to photography. This time Harper McDaniel is the daughter of a famous celebrity photography (think Annie Leibowitz) and through apprenticing for her mother, Harper learns a great deal about reading faces, and capturing the split second when a true emotion or glimpse of an authentic persona appears. This skill will serve her well as she must go hand-to-hand against an array of bad guys and gals.