I feel so angry today. Yesterday, my Dad, who has an interest in photography, created a new blog to show off his pictures and asked me if I would correct any grammar or spelling mistakes in what he’d written. I read through the piece to find that Dad had written a pack of lies and I know this because I played a part in his fictitious story. This is a part of what he wrote:
“I was 15 when I first became interested in photography. It all started with a negative I found of my granddad who had died before I was born, I was curious as to what he looked like as there were no photographs of him. I read books on how to develop and print from a negative and set off to the photographic shop to buy the trays, chemicals and paper. I begged and borrowed some blackout material, then it happened. As I rocked the tray in the dim red light I saw the image appear; a large, stern man who also looked very proud. My excitement became even greater when I put the light on to reveal a good quality image. My first attempt led me to the path of photography.”
The reason I know he’s lying is because I know from my childhood that he didn’t become interested in photography until he was in his 30’s, I remember it very well. He never showed any interest before then. I know because Dad couldn’t read or write that well when he was 15. I know because Dad’s family were very poor and there’s no way he could afford to buy trays, chemicals and paper. I know because the photograph of his granddad was taken sometime between 1890 and 1920 (most likely the earlier years) and negatives wouldn’t exist or be usable by the date Dad was talking about but most of all I know because I’ve spent four years researching the family tree. I’ve spent months working on finding information about Dad’s Granddad. I spent weeks talking to a long-lost second cousin of my Dad’s, building up a relationship which led to us exchanging certificates and photographs. One of those photographs was the one my Dad had put on his blog. Dad’s second cousin emailed it to me, I edited it to improve the quality. I printed and framed it and I gave it to Dad for Christmas in 2011. He told me that he had never seen a photo of his Granddad before that day.
To say that he developed the negative is insulting to all the work that I did and to the gift that I gave him but worst of all, and part of the reason for my anger is that now I’m doubting him for other things. How do I know he hasn’t lied about other things over the last 39 years? How do I know anything he has ever said to me wasn’t fabricated to make himself sound better or feel better about himself? When he came over tonight to visit, I found myself not believing a single word he said. His complete and utter fabrication of the truth has quite possibly ruined our relationship and that makes me angry and sad in equal measure.