We asked a few of our Storytellers to show us their favorite photo of their father, or mentor and tell us what stands out about this special person in their life. The photos and responses that follow are incredible. To all the Dads out there from all of us here at Lowepro…Happy Father’s Day!
Here is an image of my mentor; Brent McGregor. When I first met Brent McGregor I couldn’t figure him out. He has the energy of a 25 year old and the wisdom of a wizard. Half man, half mountain goat. Meeting Brent changed the way I look at life. He lives in a wood shop he built himself and sleeps outside every day of the year. His value system is different than anyone I have ever met. Brent is a brilliant cave photographer and lives his life with courage.
This is Mark. Most of who I am today is completely attributed to this man. Watching the beautiful way that my Dad treated my Mom taught me to respect myself as a woman. Understanding the way he provided for our family, and through thick and thin made everything work for us, has made me the entrepreneur I am today. Feeling the love and guidance that was always given to us has provided me with the tools to parent my own children. I am forever grateful for all I have learned from this incredible person.
Growing up in a Native American family with the traditions and cultures that are passed down from generation to generation, my Dad spent much of his youth exploring these Colorado hills with my grandfather experiencing them as others had before him. Now I have the privilege to roam these same hills seeing, hearing, smelling and learning them from mine in ways only a dad can teach his son. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
In 2000 I was 15 years old and asked for a camera for my birthday. My parents came through and got me a Pentax ZX-M (that I still have and shoot occasionally) along with a 50mm and some junky little telephoto kit lens. I was instantly hooked and carried the camera along with a few rolls of film on me all the time. In fact it wasn’t long until my parents had to start limiting the number of rolls I could shoot because they were spending a small fortune printing and developing my negatives!
My parents have never been super well off but my dad is pretty wildly successful in his field. A pretty rare breed my dad is a true southwestern Archaeologist which has quite literally been passed down to him a few generations. It’s obviously not a career path you’d consider being a family business but after my grandfather started the Kit Carson foundation and along side my dad helped restore dozens of historical sites throughout the southwestern US I found myself with a shovel in my hands not long after I could walk. I’ve always appreciated how much of his life my dad has dedicated to history. Speaking for pennies at conferences packed full of like minded scientists who traded in their lab coats and bonuses for wranglers and snake chaps was a pretty cool thing to grow up around.
If I’m honest it wasn’t until I moved away from northern New Mexico in 2003 that I really realized how cool the culture that I was raised around really was. Mesa Verde, Taos Pueblo, Santa Fe evidently had been the holy grail for artists and photographers for generations and I was fortunate enough to grow up just down the road. A few of my first rolls of film were shot in Taos Pueblo where cameras aren’t supposed to be used, still shots I love. My dad’s office was in downtown Santa Fe so I was often left for long afternoons in high school wondering around the indian markets with a camera in my hands shooting turquoise in aged hands and red chili hanging from “vigas”.
In hindsight between my art teacher mom and my historian dad my entire photographic career was laid out in front of me simply by providing me an endless amount of material to hone my craft with.
The focus here is on my dad though so before I digress too much I’ll get into this particular photo. I don’t know many kids that wanted to hang out with their dad through their high school years but mine was different. Don’t get me wrong, I was horribly embarrassed by him (still am) but in all honesty most of those feelings were pretty forced. In reality my dad was pretty cool. We skied together in one of the best ski areas in north america all winter. Spent the summers together a lot after my mom was diagnosed with a chronic illness that left her at the house quite a bit.
This picture carries so much weight for so many reasons but here’s the real story. I can’t remember what it was that took us to the “Martinez Hacienda” that morning. Some kind of conference or craft fair that my dad was invited to no doubt but for whatever reason I tagged along camera in hand. This centuries old compound was restored by my dad and though he’s certainly not recognized in the way I wish he was when he walks through the doors all of books and all of the photos of this amazing old building in crumbles have my dad with a shovel in hand working to fix what history had forgotten. So this day was special.
It was hot out and I was bored in a hurry but this snap of my dad happened to capture him in his most comfortable state. The hat, the mustache, and even the smug smile were perfect. What really came from this photo was something that would change the course of my life.
Seconds after I shot this photo a local photographer who I only knew because I coached his kids in Taekwondo at the time came over to say hi. That little chat, all based on him seeing me shoot my dad opened up to a job as his assistant that would start the following week. Since that spring day in 2000 I have never been without a job as a photographer or an assistant to a photographer.
It’s a long story to get to that ending but to say that I’m proud of my dad is a pretty big understatement. He crafted so much about me, but to have the memory of that break at such a young age coming from this photo means a lot. Just a few years later I said goodbye to that job as an assistant to the best commercial photographer in the area, said goodbye to home and my parents who had pushed so hard for my work to be recognized, and left for college and my first formal training, already 3 years into my career. It’s all too rare these days for a kid to know what they want their life to look like, but so much of what I wanted changed on this very day and I give so much of that credit to a dad who dragged me around behind him, encouraged me to see culture and history as art, and taught me how to see people in a way that expressed who they were and not simply what they were doing.