A pretty short post: Family and Distance

Cubano Fumando
My grandfather smoking a cigar - the way I will remember him for all of my life

It really sucks that I’m so far from my family.  My sole living grandfather, pictured here, is turning 70 this year.  Although I’ve always been closer to my mom’s family –  I really, really love my grandfather.  His humor, which was passed on to my father and which I hope to pass on to my son(s), has always cracked me up.  In different circumstances I think he would have liked all the same comedies I do.  

 

When I was a kid we used to visit them nearly every Sunday.  I freakin’ hated it!  The couches had plastic on them and we stuck to it in the Florida humidity.  They only had over the air TV, so there wasn’t anything for a kid to watch.  We couldn’t run around because they lived in an apartment.  Also, I barely spoke Spanish and most of the time the conversations involved my dad helping them out with some form or another.  

Abuelo Sotero's infectious laugh
I absolutely love the way my grandfather laughs

 

It wasn’t until High School that I began to realize that my grandparents were a source of hidden knowledge and family heritage.  At that time I began to ask them questions about their childhood and the past and what it was like to be alive in another country – especially one that had undergone such upheavals.  

 

I was always into photography, but until I got my digital camera (when I was in my freshman year of college), I only took snaps at parties and other ocassions.  I didn’t get into portraiture and so forth because I didn’t know about it – not having had a formal photography education and because film was so expensive relative to my allowance. 

 

This brings me to the meat of my blog post.  Here I am, in Maryland, and my family is in Florida.  Not only that, but my immediate family lives in Tampa and my grandparents live in Miami so I see them even less than I see my immediate family.  So I don’t have too many situations to gather these portraits that capture the essence of my grandparents.  I don’t know if they’ll live as long as their parents, but I feel like I ‘m missing out on opportunities because of distance. That’s why when I take pictures, like the first one, and they come out blurry due to a strong desire to have a candid portrait, it really just annoys me even more.  

Abuelo Sotero at the Park
The best picture I currently have of my grandfather. Hopefully I can capture more like this.

 

I just found out recently there will be a big birthday bash for my grandfather’s 70th birthday.  I intend to be there, camera in tow, and get some great pictures.  In addition to that, I’m going to try and always have my camera and just fade into the background and take the pictures.  It’s worth people asking why I don’t stop.  I think when people need/want pictures after the person is no longer around, they’ll be happy I was there snapping away.  And for me, I’ll have the memories, frozen in time, to remind me of all the things I loved so much about my grandparents.

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me