High School – Roll 8

Blog, Photography / Thursday, March 7th, 2024

There was no assignment for this roll, and to be honest I don’t really know why I took it. Likely, some younger form of me was trying to make the camera part of his personality and was bringing it along wherever he went. Who knows?

The photos themselves are blurry but an aggressive kind of candid you can only really get from a kid. The photos that turned out better from this roll, turned out better. I would go as far as to say, these are much, much better photos than the ones I posed and the ones I took as assignments. And sadly, they come from a lens that I have trouble replicating today. I do my best to make sure every shot I take today is technically correct so it has the best chance to succeed, but boy oh boy do these photos remind me that technical work can get in the way of the spirit of the photo.

In this case, these are photos of my cousins at their house. Obviously, they’re all grown up now and they’re starting their adult lives. Aside from that, I don’t think I could tell you much about them.

They were both born when I was already a teenager. My aunt and uncle had been married for years and we just assumed that they weren’t going to have kids. If I remember correctly, they were in their mid-30s when they actually did have kids. Somewhat late in life and I can relate. I was the last of my sibling to have kids as well and I can only assume my brother and sister had given up hope that we would have kids.

Anyway, in addition to being roughly fifteen years younger than me, we just didn’t see them that often. They lived only a half hour away but my aunt and uncle and my cousins were not involved in our lives. It sounds cowardly, but I’m putting the blame on them for it. You see, they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. And while I do not know a lot about their beliefs, I have always know that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate holidays and birthdays. From a family standpoint, those are prime gathering days throughout the year.

Seriously. In the next two months, our weekends are booked. This coming weekend is my father-in-law’s birthday. Next weekend is my niece. The following weekend is my nephew. After that, it is Easter. Then I think we get a weekend break before the following weekend we are celebrating my grandpa’s 90th birthday. All of those opportunities to see family.

So these two cousins of mine grew up at a distance. As a child, I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do about it. I didn’t try to do anything either, I guess I just accepted it.

Fast forward to today, one of my cousins now lives in town and has for a couple of years, maybe longer. I haven’t seen her. She had a big production she put together at a local theater, but excuses to not go seemed far more bountiful than reasons to actually go. For me, it makes sense that things turned out the way that they did. I’m not upset about it, but I do keep it in mind.

For me, these photos are a reminder of how important family and showing up can be in your life. I want to make sure that my daughter doesn’t have cousins she doesn’t know because of me. And while I grumble about all of the weekends spent driving in different directions to celebrate things, I really understand how important they are.

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