Preface on Perspective
I will no longer be referring to my child as my son or using he him pronouns. Dave has informed me that the correct pronouns are they and them. They have offered me a new perspective. Nothing has changed other than what I know of them. My child is now, and always will be, the same amazing spirit they have always been. I have been “preaching” about parents and adults with a general reluctance and excuses that get in the way of being able to use they them pronouns. So I practice what I preach and embrace the new perspective of what has always been. I have a child. Their name is Dave! I love them. Always have.
Generational Passage of Perspective
My father was an accomplished photographer. His work appeared in newspapers, catalogs and magazines all over the world. He also won awards. He had his first taste of photography as a young boy when his adoptive father, LaFord Green, brushed off the dust on his old rangefinder camera and showed my dad how to use it. The Argus C-3 Rangefinder was also known as “the brick”. Virtually every GI had one in WWII and many famous pictures were taken on the rather difficult to learn (by today’s standards) 35 mm camera.
My father taught me how to use a camera at the age of 13. I was taught on a Pentax k1000. Back then it was the entry level 35 mm SLR of the time. Marginally easier to use than the brick and did require a battery for the built in light meter. Over the decades my work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, some adverts and art galleries. Never won a contest because I have never entered one.
About the time my child turned 15, there was interest expressed in photography on a serious level. I let Dave take one of my cameras out for spin a few times. But it was not enough. They needed something more, something of their own. So, as my grandfather passed something down to my dad and my dad passed something down to me, I passed on to Dave, at the age of 16, a Panasonic Lumix G7 Mirrorless camera. A solid entry level into taking serious pictures and learn the craft.
In short time Dave’s photos have documented the pages of the high school journalism club and yearbook at their high school. At the age of 17, Dave had a photograph taken in Chicago on display in an art gallery. I was in my 40’s when I had my first gallery piece up. My father was in his 20’s. My grandfather was never years old.
4th generation photographer.
One of the first things Laford, Robert, and then Patrick was taught and taught their child was perspective through the lens. This is where you take the understanding that you are taking a two dimensional image of a 3 dimensional world and it is your viewpoint that is going to restore the brain’s ability to see that 2 dimensional image converted back to having depth of field. But you get to use this tool in your hands to help shape the perspective with an understanding of lines, depth of field, aperture, shutter speed and a few other tricks of the trade.
We can teach one another how to use the camera. But your viewpoint and your perspective on the world will shape what you do and how you express it. The other day, Dave sent me the picture used for this column. My breath was taken away. I smiled, and said to them, “I love the perspective on this one.” They, knowing full well what I meant, were grateful.
What I didn’t tell my child is that I meant more than the picture. I love Dave’s view of the world.
Symbiosis of Perspective
I taught Dave how to use a camera. To teach them how to have good perspective in photography I had to teach them the principles of lines and depth. I also showed them my perspective. That was Dave’s starting point in developing individual perspective and viewpoint. The same is true of life.
From an infant to a toddler to young adulthood, I taught Dave my perspective, viewpoint and morality. Through words, through how I lived, to how I disciplined. From there, Dave developed their own perspective. That perspective and viewpoint that Dave has adopted has inspired me and changed my viewpoint.
Dave is a wonderful artist with inks. When Dave was two or three, they took crayons and markers and turned the living room wall into a canvas while I was in the study doing other things. I knew there was a desire to create and express so I refrained from yelling. Instead. I had my young toddler help me clean up the walls. After we were done, we went to a store where I bought a pad of sketch paper. I explained that this was the proper place to draw on and to be sure there was an understanding, I needed them to draw ten pictures. In less than a day, the sketch pad was full.
Over the years many trees gave their lives in a flurry of drawing. When sketch pads ran out of pages, spiral notebooks and printer paper would suffice. The art has moved me and inspired me many times and I have a few art pieces my kid has done that I treasure and keep safely tucked away.
I inspired the art by giving direction and my child inspired me with the art. Symbiosis of perspective.
Their Perspective Shaped Mine
Many of you read Dave’s perspective shift right here in Transparent Expedition. In the wake of my writing “On Wings Denied” where we were refused service because of my kid’s appearance, a mob of internet warriors were starting to form to go after Buffalo Wild Wings. Me? I was all for it and ready to pass out the pitchfork to the angry mob of villagers.
Dave, however, had a different perspective and expressed it to me and asked to write a guest blog. Dave gave their perspective in “A Trans Teen’s Thoughts on Corporations, Suicide, Allies and Antagonists“. Daves perspective is one of mercy on the waitress, the manager and the store location. They understood that the behavior was wrong and hurtful and also understood our anger and hearts were in the right place, but gave a better way. The main goal was effective action that brings about change that is real and long lasting. Dave’s perspective shaped my perspective in that moment. I was not the only one. Despite the lower readership of Dave’s entry, the mob dispersed.
The other night I called Dave to tell them about some serious personal medical problems I am going through and how I intend to address them. It was hard and I feared rejection or overburdening my child. But I also felt, as a young adult, they had a right to know. I asked Dave, out of fear, if they thought any less of me over my struggles. Dave said, “About the only way I could think less of you is if you killed all of my friends. Short of that, I love you and I’m proud of you for facing this.” My kid’s perspective changed mine. I was, in that moment, proud of me and accepted the love I often deny myself.
Wrapping Up the Inspiration
Here are other ways Dave has changed my perspective and viewpoint with their perspective and viewpoint.
- I saw the beauty of the cosplay community.
- Love and attraction were expanded along with my views of gender and sexuality.
- Dave’s honesty about struggle encouraged me to do likewise.
- I discovered a renewed love of discovering new games like cards against humanity and other delights.
- I had to relearn the birds and the bees with them.
Every time I am out with a camera with my kid and I see them leaning over things and laying on walls, I see the lessons I taught Dave on finding unique viewpoints in action. When I see the results, they take my breath away. There is so much more I could say, but I am not sure I can ever find enough words to describe the wonder that is David LaFord Green. Pat LaFord Green gave them the best viewpoint I could and it goes back to a man who served in WWII, loved baseball and his rangefinder camera named LaFord Green. We share more than a name and the inspiration keeps paying forward.
I love more richly, act more efficiently and face hell more honestly. Perspective shifted by my child.
Before it all ends, I need to cherish that gift that goes with every day I have.
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