He also took a lot of landscape photos, mainly in the Lake District and wanted his compositions to have a Japanese style to them (most probably Hiroshige) and as such never wanted people to be looking into the camera, but rather looking into and responding to the landscape around them. Much to the annoyance of my Granny, apparently.
So, the question arises, is there any connection between my Grandad's interest in Japanese art and mine? Is it just a coincidence? Lot's of people who aren't related to me obviously like it; but is there, perhaps, something in the way my Grandad's brain and mine that made us almost predisposed to be attracted to Japanese art and prints, and for us both to want to create our own art based on it?
I don't know. I have a vague, unformed theory of something I call Hereditary Memory. Memories or feelings, which, like physical and mental attributes are perhaps passed through the generations. The reason why some people feel inexplicably called to the sea or the countryside because our ancestors were probably either farmers or fishermen. My Grandad's father was a printer and print compositor as well.My Grandad was a fascinating man. While living in Liverpool he was very closely involved with the Folk music clubs and, so I have been told, played a part in Paul Simon's first UK visit as a young unknown singer songwriter. My cousin has a set of old reel to reel recordings of Paul Simon's performances in the Folk clubs which I've never heard.
In Paul Simon's song, 'Homeward Bound' (which he wrote while sitting at Widnes Railway Station during that first UK tour) are the lines '...every step is carefully planned for a poet and a one-man band...' and I like to think he's refering to my Grandad there. It's also slightly amusing to think that my Grandad played a part in making Paul Simon miserable enough to write that song!
Curiously, here's a print from a Japanese woodblock print book I saw online recently which looks just like my Grandad.