On one side of my family there is a pretty big age discrepancy between me (the oldest) and all the rest. They are all adults now, having their own kids and such, but I still think of them as little rugrats getting all liquored up on red lemonade and my Nan’s tooth-achingly sweet slices, every Christmas.
My Mum just sent me a link for my cousin Jarrod McShane’s website, and it turns out, that somewhere between sitting at the kiddie table at family dinners, travelling to The US with us in 2003, and now, he has become an extraordinary photographer.
Wonderful photography amazes me, in this digital age of fast, sharp cameras and accessible filters, where it seems everyone can take enough pictures to get something decent. But true photography is something else, isn’t it? Real photographers somehow manage to tell you a story, take you on a ride, urging you to leave the couch and step inside the frame with them. They make you experience the world in a new way, with eyes that don’t belong to you. I think that is a rare thing, something you can’t get with just a fancy camera. For that you need heart.
So when I went over to Jarrod’s, I guess I expected to see a couple of cute snaps of this or that (he’s just a kid remember), but instead he took me along with him to Alaska and Melbourne and Canada. Places I have been and places I haven’t, experiencing them all in the heartfelt way of my quiet, thoughtful cousin. Seeing details that my own eyes would have passed over, capturing moments that I would have rushed by.
The excursion made me smile, in a benevolent old-lady kind of way, proud of what my kid-cousin has grown up to be.
It also made my heart ache a little, as I know my Dad would have loved to see the art Jarrod has created, and I know he would have had thoughtful things to say about it. We would have sat together and looked through the gallery, recognising familiar places, and making up stories of the spots we didn’t.
I would have liked that.
So I did it by myself instead, imagining his voice in my head.
And I liked it anyway.
Thanks Jarrod, I think you have a gift. I appreciate you sharing it.
How about you, which pic is your favourite?
What does it say to you? Where does it take you?
…From The Ashers xx