The First Picture I Ever Took

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2008

It’s not too late to submit your essay about what your father means to you. As I said before, you can do it any way you like: It can be an essay, a poem, photos, video, podcast — whatever motivates you. It can be about your father, your grandfather, your neighbor’s father, your stepfather, your kid’s father, or your favorite father figure.

We’ve gotten three so far, from Tony K. and Garrett and Ben. Yours could be next. Just send it to between now and midnight Sunday night. The best submission gets a T-shirt.

Me and my brother

I mentioned earlier that we have very few pictures of my dad, simply because he was always the one taking the pictures. Like this one of me (left, about six years old) and my younger brother (right) playing in the back yard. Who knows why he decided to go outside and take this picture. Maybe he just wanted to finish up a roll and get it developed. Who knows?

But what I do remember is that it was an unusually bright, spring day, and that we were going to move soon to the town that I would eventually regard as my home town. I also remember on that spring day that I didn’t want my picture taken, but I did want to take a picture of my dad.

And so I asked him. “Dad, can I take your picture? Please?

Now like I said, he took all the pictures. He had a brand new Kodak Instamatic, a fancy jobber with an automatic winder. This baby was his camera. And so I also remember the sense of awesome responsibility I felt as he carefully placed it into my two small hands, wrapped the cord around my wrist so I wouldn’t drop it, and showed me how to slowly, slowly press the shutter so the camera wouldn’t jerk and take a blurry picture.

And so there I was — with my dad’s camera! — ready to take my very first photo.


And there you have it. The very first picture I ever took. That look on his face? I think he’s still worried that I’m going to drop his camera, but he let me take the picture anyway. Because that’s the way he was, worried sometimes but supportive always.

So, what about your dad?

Update: My goodness, I just looked at the calendar. It was twenty-five years ago today that dad passed away. He’s much loved and much missed still.

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