Feb 282011
Authors: Sam Noblett

The idea of legacy has been on my mind. On Feb. 13 my granddad, Timon Sinclaire, passed away from a brain tumor after a six-month struggle.

He was not only a loving member of my family, he sparked the interest in the one thing I’ve found that has given me direction in life.

When I was 10 he taught me how to load a roll of 35mm film into a developing canister. There was something exciting about the way the film felt as it slid onto the reel while standing in the dark. Long before that, I remember my granddad setting up his studio in the basement to do portraits of my family and me. I remember the large muslin background, the large format film camera and the flashing strobes.

This all led me to become interested in photography. The process was started then, but it took a long time for these ideas to take hold. Now I find myself setting up backgrounds and strobes to try to tell the story of another person.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I truly found that I liked taking photos.

I played with a few borrowed cameras from other family members, and toyed with the standard cheesy red, black and white photos in Photoshop.

At the end of my senior year, people began asking me what I wanted for graduation.

After some thought, I decided that I wanted my first professional style –– or so I thought –– camera, a digital SLR. So I asked my granddad and that same day the two of us drove to a Ritz Camera up the hill from their house to buy my first camera — a Nikon D50.

I now find myself more than five years, multiple cameras, and hundreds of thousands of photos down the road. And for this I have my granddad to thank.
This may not have been his plan. His interest in photography was always a hobby to him; he was a building designer by trade. I have no idea if he ever considered photography as a profession –– he always loved what he did.

But without the interest he shared, I would not have found the one profession that seems to make sense to me.

I spent almost four years outside of high school pursuing photography as a hobby, like my granddad, until I decided that I needed to take it further. I made the leap to applying for a job at the Collegian. I now find myself wrapped up in an industry in which I think I belong. In less than two years I have moved from the position of staff photographer to next year’s editor-in-chief.

My granddad and I drifted apart those two years. Then Last September, I received a phone call saying that he had developed a brain tumor that was most likely inoperable. With this news I flew out to see him toward at the end of October.

Even with our separation leading up to last fall, we still had photo to talk about. Despite his stroke-like symptoms, he still had the life in him to talk about our shared love of photography.

What rings true in my mind from that weekend is what he said: “just keep snapping.”

I hope that I can honor what he gave me now that he has passed. I plan to do this through continuing to shoot photos for as long as I can still work a camera.

Photography Editor Sam Noblett is a junior liberal arts major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegain.com.

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