On a recent run, I had a fairly profound thought. To be honest, I have a LOT of profound thoughts while running. Perhaps it's the increased blood flow to my brain providing needed clarity, although I'm more inclined to think it's some freaky near-death experience due to my lack of fitness. This can be debated by historians for decades to come, but let's get back to the big idea.
Me... and how I became the person I am.
During the aforementioned run, I was thinking about what may have influenced me to make some of the major choices in my life. As I broke it down to the essentials, the two biggest things in my adult life (obviously outside of family) have been music and photography, and I started to wonder why? The music answer is incredibly easy. My uncle Chris introduced to great music, and how to listen to it. It was more than just handing me a Pink Floyd record. It was a full experience. It was more than just pushing play and having noise in the background- music was best served in a comfy dark room, with a seemingly infinite amount of knobs and sliders to carve the perfect sound for what you were listening to. It was about custom built speakers and ginormous headphones that could theoretically turn your brain into applesauce. Some of my earliest memories are based around Chris and the music, and I'm 100% sure that's why music has always been such a large part of who I am.
That leaves us with photography. This one was a bit more subtle, and sort of snuck up on me. My earliest memory? A poster. I know what you're thinking... "A poster is your earliest memory? That's so sad/lame/etc". But it wasn't just any poster. This poster hanging on the back of my Uncle Steve's door was THE poster of the late 70's/early 80's. You know the one, the famous Farrah Fawcett poster, shot by Bruce McBroom. You are obviously asking yourself "why?" right about now. Was it the Southwestern-inspired blanket hanging in the background? Nope. Was it the super-sweet feathered hair? Probably not. Was it the fact that she was either really cold or really happy? Not really. The thing that stuck with that four year-old kid was there was some sort of connection. It was all about the eyes and the impossibly big smile. To this day, I still strive to create an emotional connection with every image I create.
When I look back at what shaped my photographic eye, I see a lot of influence from both of my uncles. Images ranging from classic pinups and calendar girls hanging in the garage, to album covers and band posters in the listening room, I've really come to understand how I have gotten to the place I am. I obviously shoot more than bands and women, but I feel like those are the things that I have excelled at for one reason or another.
The moral of this terribly convoluted attempt at a story? If you are an aunt or an uncle, be aware of the influence you have on the little ones around you. It might be a bigger impact than you will ever know!