When I am browsing a contact sheet, I never know what images are worth hanging onto and what images I need to let go of. Smarter photographers than I am say that in the current age of Instagram, the real trick is to learn how to edit images ruthlessly. Select only the best images to present publicly. The best photographers take plenty of terrible images. They just know how to keep them private.
This image seemed worth the time to scan and clean up. I can't tell if it should have been kept private. It may not survive the next round of editing to end up in a portfolio.
My grandfather had built a model airplane, like the one pinned to the foam core in this image, when I was young. It had a rubber band powered propeller and was made with paper glued to a balsa wood frame. I loved flying it with him. It was a pretty flimsy toy to let a five-year-old play with, and by the end of the summer he had patched it so many times that none of the original paper was left.
I started putting together this model while I was working on an MFA in Albuquerque. I was photographing my grandparent's home in Los Alamos on the weekends. In the course of visiting my grandparents, I kept thinking about that summer I spent with them when I was five years old.
I was trying to find some life balance when I picked the model up at a hobby shop. I put it together to prove I could do it. My grandfather spent his youth building things and I never felt like I met his expectations of competence as a carpenter, mechanic, or photographer. Somehow his voice often shows up in my head expressing doubts. He kind of had a gift for doing that to the people around him.