Since the publication of The Measure of a Man, I've had the opportunity to see my brother and sisters more.
When in Calgary attending Wordfest in October, I visited my brother, Len. I found out my father had given a camera to each of his children years before his death. I had assumed I was the only one to have received one. My father gave me a Konica T3 which I mentioned in the book.
But during a visit with Lenny and his family at their wonderful farmhouse in Balzac Lenny told me he had my father's first REAL camera. My father bought it in his early twenties and it, a Nikon F, would have cost him a pretty penny (below).
During my visit, I had a chance to see some of Len's photography. He has a good eye. I also shot a roll on the Nikon and took a picture of a beautiful horse (well, I was in Alberta).
"We pet her. Then said good bye. She followed us until she could no longer. She spun. Then to show off, she galloped fast and then turned back to check to see if we were watching. Very beautiful and spirited animal. She disappeared over the horizon. Stunning."
Len let me take home the Nikon as he no longer used it, mind you, on loan.
A month later I visited my big sister, Tammyr. She lives in Montreal. During my stay, I found out Tammy had tucked in the closet a black Pentax SP with a brilliant lens Takumar lens.
Another gift from my father. Tammy used the SLR back in college.
She too has a good eye. It's something we inherited from our father.
Then earlier this year, in March, Tammy surprised me. She pulled from the top shelf a bag of white envelopes. In them were colour slides of all of the kids and my mum taken on luscious Kodak Kodachrome and Ektachrome. Quite a shock. I thought these photographs had disappeared in the breakup of our family back in 1991.
While I did post one image recently from the baby pictures (of me holding a camera), I hadn't taken a close look at all of them until today...
And, well, you may know my book paints a bleak picture of my childhood. And the dark moments are what I remember most now, when I dare to remember anything at all.
But when I see the images my father took of me, it brings back the father I loved as a young boy. And that's a mighty fine gift for Father's Day. Happy Father's Day.
Below, you'll also find some of my father's pictures of me and a video of my own son Jack contemplating the family penchant for photography and cameras.