Front Personal

What you leave behind

When my dad died I was left with a very strange question. Where does the Carr family go from here? It’s an odd question for many reasons. We don’t have kids so where does the family line go from here? What happens to our family photos and memories when I die? I can sort of understand the pressure on people back in historical times to have children to pass everything on to. I guess it’s a form of immortality. But we don’t have kids and my career hasn’t changed the world enough to leave a dent in the universe. At some point I will die and I will take my family with me. That’s a very very very odd thought.

It’s complicated by the fact that I’m adopted. I was put up for adoption before I was born but for 3 months I had a different name. That is wild. For a few months I wasn’t me. Those few months make me question the definition of family, identity, ancestry, heritage and basic existence. Am I what I’ve done? Am I what my parents did? Am I what my birth parents did? It’s fascinating to ponder over but really, who am I? I can’t help but identify with Peter Parker, even down to the science/photographer thing. Though the only webs I’ve ever slung where created with HTML.

My dad was interested in making a family tree and researching all that. He had photos of people and you could see the genetics in action. Being adopted does make me wonder about that. My dad would tell me about my great grandparents and various people and in the back of my head I’d be wondering about my birth family history. I hated that those thoughts were there as it always felt disrespectful. My dad was my dad. I simply had other people create me. But it is strange though. I just appear in Wales in 1978, like Superman in Kansas. There’s a part of me that wants to trace those lines and see how far back I can go to find out what led me to where I am now. But then what? I’m left with two family names to care for?

All this is fascinating and I wonder how it plays into my photography. But at the end of the day, everything I was and that my parents were dies with me. I need to put a bigger dent in the universe.

(Main photo from the last day at my dad’s house. Hasselblad 501cm. Portra 400.)