Things My Father Taught Me: Carolina Mariana

When I asked Carolina when she learned to use a camera, she replied with excitement, “My father taught me.” Intrigued, I asked if she still had any of her dad’s old photos. That’s when she showed me the pictures she shares here taken by a young man, curious about the world around him. As I looked at the photos, I realized, Carolina is a lot like her father. She lets her photos do the talking. And what beautiful things they have to say.

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Papi1I inherited my father’s ability to solve a problem, efficiently pack a trunk, his distaste for milk, his attention to detail, and his photographic eye, but for as long as I can remember, my relationship with father has been one of few words. I grew up feeling like we were separated by a canyon. It wasn’t until I matured into adulthood that I realized the reason for our distance: we are extremely similar. In anticipation of this project, I went looking through his old photographs. Growing up in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, my father Jose often carried a camera with him. Since I first discovered them, I have cherished a small stack of his black and white photos. I’m certain they inspired me to pick up a camera.

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R1-04204-019A One of my fondest and earliest memories of my father is of the two of us sitting next to one another, table-side, eating cereal. I remember because shortly after, he gave it up. “Milk is no good,” he declared in his still-thick Mexican accent. Unlike my friends’ dads who woke early on the weekends, drank coffee, read the paper, and ate cereal, Jose stayed in bed with the curtains drawn until at least 11:00 a.m. I longed for him to be “more American,” but he never wavered, not in his weekend routine, not in the attention to detail of his photographic eye. Today, I’m my father’s daughter. I also gave up milk.

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