Ever since I could talk, my dad and I haven’t had much to talk about. The way we always connected was through activities, like doing a 2000-piece puzzle or watching a musical that he taped on PBS (he still does this, and we watch his recordings whenever I visit home). Now I’m in Los Angeles and Dad is still in the same house where I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. We speak on the phone, but not much. Phone calls are not conducive to shared, silent activities.
He lived so much life before I was even born, but he doesn’t like to answer questions or tell me anything about himself. I remembered that we both love taking pictures, so I took a photo, sent it to him, and asked him to respond with a photo inspired by the one I took. At first he was hesitant. If I’m being honest, I was too. It’s a big leap to try and get to know someone better, even when it’s your dad.
But I had forgotten how creative my dad is. We have so much fun with our photographic conversation that we are still doing it. It’s a shared activity that isn’t silent. We get excited to see each new piece. We ask about how each one was taken. We talk about where the idea came from. Sometimes Dad sends an old one, and I get to learn a little about that time in his life. This series has been a gift to us, and I hope it brings you joy too.