SOLC 23 of 31: Genetic Hobbies

What hobbies are handed down from generation to generation? My daughter recently had a photograph that she took featured in a virtual art gallery. Photography is one of her hobbies – so much so that she’s taken 3 courses at her HS and a few at various camps. She’s fluent in photography speak such as aperture, lens types, and exposure. She prefers to take pictures of people.

I prefer to take pictures of landscapes and nature. I’d like to think she learned her love of photography from me. I learned my love of photography from my parents, who like to take pictures of both landscapes and people, particularly when traveling.

Growing up, we had a darkroom in our basement. We traveled on vacations and had 3 cameras on hand – one for my parents to share, one for me and one for my brother. We took rolls and rolls of film (there was never a limit on how many pictures we could shoot) – knowing that out of many there might be 1-2 that were “keepers.” We often took photos of the same image – the sunset or sunrise or ground squirrel, and yet, they’d each have their own personality. Often, after being developed, we would compare photos and “claim” the best ones as our own.

Our “keepers” ended up enlarged and framed in the family living room among a gallery of other “keepers.”

When I went to college, I enrolled in as many photo classes as I could – spending hours traipsing around campus looking for patters of nature, negative space and shadows. My days were filled with time spent in the dark room learning to develop film, crop pictures, balance chemicals, print photos and mount final images for gallery display.

While the landscape of the photography world has changed a lot now that digital cameras and digital editing tools are available, I’m thrilled that my daughter has learned the art of developing film and photos. Her editing skills far surpass mine and she is finding her voice through her camera lens.

To this day, I have my own gallery walls in my house and in my office. I carefully select images from my travels that are artful and unique. They are framed and remind me both of my adventures and my love of this hobby.

Thankful to have learned this from my parents who introduced me to taking photos, who taught me the art of taking many shots to get the right one, who encouraged cropping and editing to make the photos even better and who modeled how to take your art and surround yourself with it. Seeing my daughter take this on now too, I can’t help but revel in how this “genetic hobby” has taken root in our family.


  1. Lakshmi Bhat said,

    March 23, 2021 at 11:44 am

    My father and his elder sister loved photography and I love it too. But they did not develop them nor do I . Reading books is another hobby has been passed down from my grandfather. My grandchildren love reading too.

  2. jarhartz said,

    March 23, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    I love this idea of genetic hobbies. My daughter has recently taken up photography. She has her first “real” camera and is looking forward to being able to develop her own film. She didn’t get it from me. My mom took great photos with her Leica. I guess it skipped a generation!

  3. March 23, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    Genetic hobbies is a great term for it. Neither of my parents write but I recently discovered that one of my grandfathers loved writing and I have wondered if I get that from him.

  4. Cara Wegrzyn said,

    March 23, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I love this idea! Apparently in our families, genetic hobbies often skip a generation.

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