Ode to the Dadtographer and the Circle of Photographic Life
Editor's Note: We're trying something a little different with this post. I'm often asked, "what is a 'dadtographer', anyway?" Yes, of course it's the intersection of being a dad and photographer, but what does that mean, exactly? This ode seeks to help answer that question.
Photography is that science, the art and the practice of recording... even creating images. It’s the art of catching life in its essence.
For the photographer dad, it is the chance to pass on this essence to a new life through the cycle of life. He is the dadtographer.
The dadtographer photographer is a bright, often sensitive person, trained to see a message and essentially the good in all that is around him. He sees angles and subjects and features others can’t ever begin to appreciate.
When he is still but a soon-to-be dad, he has the most intense love for his unborn child. He knows his task at hand - to preserve the priceless moments of childhood.
He does his best to do capture the moments that matter in the life of his child and cement the click cycle of his essence and love to his child, his love, his protégé.
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This journey of life and the lens begins immediately. His family hasn't even left the delivery room and he is already deciphering the simplest nuance, squirm, grimace, and gestures of his child.
The mother is intrigued with his obsession. The new dadtographer snaps even the most ridiculous of poses and loves every moment of it.
The kid grows to expect the click of the dad’s camera, taking in the lens as part of his dad. She smiles at the lens. She knows it's there for her, just like the dadtographer attached to it.
From this moment on every smile, grimace, chuckle and tear becomes a thing of beauty to be caught on camera. His picture of the her taking her first steps is like a trophy on the wall. His snapshot of her first birthday is more precious than any in a museum.
He lives for her. And for the camera.
The dadtographer takes his child through a delightful journey of discovery as each stage is cherished and photographed.
And each time she is under the lens, she grows more comfortable with the camera. Then comes a time when it when she begins to reach for the camera.
She wants it. She wants to hold the camera.
And then she finds the button. She takes pictures with the camera. They're blurry pictures, but nonetheless they are to the delight of her dadtographer.
The photos she takes get better. And better.
Then he begins to take photos of her with the camera. The dadtographer is ecstatic as he begins to see a piece of himself in her.
The Dad, his child and their cameras now take trips to wonderful places, pointing out beauty and making each other see new life through the lens.
The dadtographer casually teaches her kid to recognize photography as part of her own essence. That is when the child is no longer just a child. This is when the circle of life for the dadtographer starts to complete the full cycle.
The child begins to give way to the new kidtographer. Not merely a child any longer, but a budding personality and perspective beginning to shine through.
She soaks it all in, taking advantage of her dad’s experience to make it easier for her own experience to come into focus.
The years will pass. The interests may change. But somewhere, deep down inside, he knows there will always be a kidtographer in her. He finds joy in knowing she will have that piece of him long after he is gone.