PLS 2019: Dad
As my lunch series grew last year, it was fun to think about people from different phases of my life who would be fun to feature. But I also realized that there would be people critical to my personal and professional growth who I wouldn’t be able to include, since they’d passed away years earlier. I thought of Lynn Meeks, who guided my first years of teaching at Utah State University, and Ken Brewer, her colleague who taught my creative writing class and encouraged my work. My grandparents have all passed on, and so has Dan Giles, a friend from South Chicago who would cheer me up instantly whenever I saw him.
Naturally, the biggest absence in the series would be my dad, who aside from just being my dad, also happened to be one of my most important influences and supporters as I made my way into the world of photography. He did most of his work when I was young, before Type 1 Diabetes compromised his vision, but I still have many of his photographs, and his portrait of me in my second grade Han Solo costume is one of my all-time favorites. A project like this couldn’t be complete without a mention of his hard work, sacrifice, and loving guidance on behalf of my family (you really should have seen him with my nieces); his example as a priesthood holder; and just the fun times we spent test driving cars on random Saturdays after I finally got my license.
So in honor of my dad and everyone else who couldn’t be an official part of last year’s project, I drove up to Feldman’s Deli on a recent Friday to enjoy a pastrami and corned beef combo at one of his favorite spots. The more I think about it, the more I realize I could spend the rest of my natural life photographing the people who have helped me become who I am (and as of now, the plan is to keep up the effort). But for those I won’t see again until after this natural life, this image is my way of saying thanks.