Addiction to Photography

This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, James Lombardo.

Hello, my name is Jason Schlosberg.  And I have an addiction to photography.

 (Jason Schlosberg)

Photography is like crack cocaine.

Yes, I feel incomplete without a camera nearby.  I get the jitters if I am unable to capture a beautiful scene because I left my trusty Canon at home.  While vacations are primarily to enjoy family time, my wife, Donna, notices that I’m on edge if I’m asked to leave my camera in the hotel room.  She believes sunsets should be reserved for romantic coupling.  I can’t say I blame her, but sometimes addictions make one think irrationally.

Great photographic opportunities are fleeting.  In landscape photography, the lighting and other conditions change within moments, never to be captured again.  The greatest outdoor photographers spend hours, if not days, in the same location, waiting for the perfect composition of sky and light.  Patience is a key ingredient to capture an image sufficiently powerful to take the edge off of the addiction.

The addiction is felt more clearly with the added variables of urban and life scenes.  Cars pass by, people move, incidents occur, all within a blink of an eye.  Sometimes I wish I had a camera surgically inserted in my optic nerve so I would never have to leave my camera behind.

While these are all of the conscious reasons for my addiction, I have had another reason that I don’t usually talk about.  It’s about memories.  Professional photographers usually talk about the scene, the moment, and the capture.  The hokey idea about capturing memories is something reserved for amateurs with their point-and-shoots taking pictures of their kids without concern of f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, lighting conditions, or even negative space.

Me and Jim in Ketchikan, Alaska.

In my personal life, there aren’t many people in my family that take pictures at every event.  That’s probably because I’m already there, DSLR and additional lighting equipment in tow, sometimes at the expense of annoying certain relatives who think it’s “too much.”

Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting to capture memories.  For me, I think it has been somewhat unconscious until recently.  I never really knew my grandparents.  My maternal grandfather died before I was born and both my grandmothers died when I was about 2 years old.  My paternal grandfather passed when I was 7 years old.  While I do remember him, my memories are dim and sparse.  While there are a few pictures of these people in some albums, it just hasn’t been enough.

When my daughter was born, one of my biggest fears was that she would not know her grandparents.  In fact, we have even second-guessed our own decision to not having children until we were in our mid-thirties.  Very recently, my father-in-law, Jim Lombardo, passed away.  My daughter is only 7 months old.

Flexing our muscles at Donna and my wedding.

Jim was a wonderful father-in-law.  We had similar off-color senses of humor.  He had a big heart and was always offering support and a helping hand without being asked.  He grew up in Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge, so I sometimes called him the Prince of the Lower East Side.  Not because he acted like royalty, but to the contrary.  He was a mensch, which is a Yiddish word describing someone as a person with integrity and honor, sometimes misinterpreted into English as a “prince.”  When I got Donna’s engagement ring, I went to Jim to ask for his blessing, telling him it would be an honor to call him my father-in-law.  He told me that he already considered me part of the family.

After Jim passed, I started looking for photographs.  I found quite a few and put some up on my personal Facebook account to share with family and friends.  I included photos of our trips to Aruba and Alaska and at family events.  One of my favorites is of him and me posing like muscle men while wearing tuxedos at my wedding.  There is also a shot of Jim with my brother-in-law, Dominick, and my daughter.  It was the last time we spent with him at home before he went to the hospital.

When I posted that last one, Dominick immediately made it his profile picture.  He also wrote, “All these captured moments are thanks to my brother in law who never put down his camera – thank you, Jason.”

 (Jason Schlosberg)

James Lombardo, Dominick Lombardo, Jocelyn Schlosberg.

Since Jim’s death, I have experienced significant waves of emotion.  Once again my eyes welled up with Dominick’s appreciation and with my own realization that part of my motivation for photography is to capture memories for moments just like this.  It didn’t matter that the lighting was harsh or that I took the photo with my video camera, which produced somewhat noisy, low-res photos.  I captured a moment of Jim, Dom, and Jocelyn all looking happy and within each others arms.  My addiction was suddenly justified.

 

 

 

11 Responses to “Addiction to Photography”

  1. Deborah says:

    Beautiful!

  2. Betty-Jo says:

    I thank God for your addiction and your talent. Bless you!

  3. Marie DeBiase says:

    Jason, this is amazing. Your addiction is worth all the money in the world. Thank God for your father-in-law and my brother Jim, I loved him so and I miss him.

  4. Mom & Dad says:

    You title your blog ” Addiction to Photography.”
    We would title it ” Passion for Life”
    The camera is your vechicle for capturing the perfect landscape and family moments.
    You do it with enthusiasm and devotion. We enjoy and appreciate your talent.

  5. Ralph says:

    Well said. A fitting tribute to a great man who we all loved and will miss tremendously.

  6. Maria says:

    Thank you Jason. I’ve been staring at the picture of Uncle Jimmy, Dom and Jocelyn since I received it when Donna sent me my monthly fix. You’re so right, the photos connect us to the moments that pass and are reminders of the reasons why we love so deeply. I miss the beauty and humor of Uncle Jimmy and your photos are proof that he still lives in us all.
    I’m one of the relatives that never brings a camera because I know you will. Shoot on. Love You.

  7. Gerry and Lou says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this blog. It was heartfelt and beautifully written.

  8. Aunt Theresa says:

    Janson

    The pictures are great What a great way for Jocelyn to remember what a great guy her grandfather was and how much we all loved him
    Keep the camera going love to all

  9. Danielle says:

    Words are hard to express. Jason this is amazing!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feeling and paying tribute to an incredible man. Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us. This is one addiction you should be proud of and we all get to benefit from. Love you.

  10. Ellee says:

    Hi, Jason,

    I’m one of Domi’s friends, and a photographer. What a beautiful story.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Terrific pictures and memories!

    All the best wishes and healing peace to you.

    Ellee

  11. Phil Patrinicola says:

    Jason, I always knew you were a photographer but never realized what a great author as well. Kudos to you for all you do. Keep photographing everything that is important to you and as you mentioned in the blog, dont sweat the type of camera you are holding at that particular time. Your photographs are just one of many ways that Jim will live on with you all each day! Love to you all xoxooxox Phil

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