"I think you're chosen, really, by whatever it is that drives you ..." - Steafán Hanvey
I was listening to NPR on Friday - they interviewed Irish father/son duo Bobbie and Steafán Hanvey as part of the Father's Day dedication program. Bobbie, the father, is a photographer who built much of his career as a photojournalist capturing "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. When his son tries to call him an artist, he interrupts, "I'm not an artist, no. They're just photographs of a time that happened and I was there. It was like being a sniper ... you look through the camera the same way as a sniper looks through a gun. You press the shutter, he presses the trigger, and you hope to get something ... it's mainly mechanical ... there's no way I can call it art."
When speaking about his son, Steafán, Bobbie says: "He looks at my photographs in a different way than I do. The program that he's got for America is really really good." Steafán has put together a touring photography and music exhibit that combines his father's photographs and his own music, bringing awareness to "The Troubles" and an important part of his, and his country's, history.
Those of you who follow my facebook fan page know that much of this week has been dedicated to the "Save Trestles" initiative. There are parts of this effort that aren't about the art - it's more about using photography as a platform to help raise awareness about an unspoiled place that may be lost. I spent the better part of the day at Trestles yesterday - viewing it quite differently than I previously have, elevated, flying past at 75mph on Amtrak's Surfliner, always grateful for the serenity after a long work day. Yesterday, I sat on the sand and watched the families, fathers & sons, young kids - a way of life, really. There were LOTS of girls and that made me smile. I watched them navigate their way across the rocks, unsteadily, occasionally stumbling - all to reach that perfect break. I burned my feet in the hot sand, spying on egrets and shore birds in the San Mateo Creek that ends at the beach. I felt a different responsibility to document it all - less about the art, maybe a bit more mechanical, and very much for a passion-driven cause.
You are chosen by what drives you ... and, as Jim Moriarty, CEO of The Surfrider Foundation, says: "Parks are never saved. They're always being saved." I hope that what I've captured somewhat mechanically inspires a feeling, creates awareness, and results in action.
Happy Father's Day to all!
(NPR Hanvey Interview link here)