|South Dakota & New York © Michael Christopher Brown|
Some boys in the Skagit Valley of Washington State learned practical things from their fathers, like how to farm, build houses or repair cars. I learned how to take pictures, just as useful though not as obvious. Though I worked the fields a bit growing up, picking berries and spinach and driving a combine at night, neither I nor my father, Gary, understood the effort required to tend the mustard in front of our home but we could appreciate the light falling upon it. Light bound us together as the land does a farmer and son.
|Washington State & Washington State © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Washington State & North Dakota © Michael Christopher Brown|
|South Dakota & North Dakota © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Washington State & Montana © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Idaho & Pennsylvania © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Montana & Washington State © Michael Christopher Brown|
If Dad liked the service he said so, tipping a waiter well and having me photograph them together. When helped along the way by the various workers-of-america, he took time telling them how he appreciated their service. Sometimes they did too good a job, as at Gettysburg when Dad was so excited by the guide's information that he kept trying to interject his thoughts and ask the guide to pose for pictures with me in front of the battleground. Other times he playfully entertained himself, having me pull over so he could stand inside a giant field sprinkler and pretend to drink from a spigot. He even asked for my advice: where to stay, what to eat and where to drive to. But mainly he seemed to want to watch me enjoy things, something both parents and children probably want more than anything. He mentioned the joy of being a father driving cross-country with a son and hopes I have a chance someday. I say even if I do not at least I drove it with him.
|Michigan & Illinois © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Montana & Indiana © Michael Christopher Brown|
|North Dakota & Indiana © Michael Christopher Brown|
He really enjoys taking my picture. No matter how the image looks in the viewfinder or afterwards, as long as I am in the frame and smiling he seems happy. I realize there is something I was distanced from, and distanced myself from, for some time. All along I was supposed to take pictures of America for a Leica project but his energy and enjoyment while taking pictures often left me just observing him. As different as we are we share as many idiosyncrasies. I only felt right about the trip if I paid total attention to him, even in the silence. What started as a picture trip became a thinking trip.
|Montana & Illinois © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Indiana & Ohio © Michael Christopher Brown|
|New York & New York © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Illinois & Ohio © Michael Christopher Brown|
|Michigan & North Dakota © Michael Christopher Brown|
|South Dakota & Iowa © Michael Christopher Brown|
Michael Christopher Brown (Foam Magazine #27/Report)