Posts Tagged ‘father’

She was sitting alone on the park bench.  I saw her immediately, sitting alone, looking very content.  Two people came up to me to ask me about the Hasselblad 500c/m I was carrying.  I enjoyed talking to them, but was keeping an eye out on her.  When they finally said goodbye, I turned to see her still sitting there, in a column of shade on an otherwise unseasonably warm, sunny autumn afternoon.


I sat down and asked her if I could take her photo.  She said yes, or course.  I love that answer.

A few years ago, I was visiting a good friend and his Father was over visiting.  I asked him if I could take his photo.  He said, “Yes, I think it’s an honor to have someone want to take my picture.”

It was the same for her.  She asked me where I would put the photo, and I told her about this new photo project I was working on, called  I told her I’d put her on there.  She seemed flattered.  I set up the shot and took two frames with the old Hassy.

Her daughter came over and saw me.  I offered to take a photo of them together.  And I did.  Here it is.


I came home that day and thought that was about as good a day as I can think of, one where I got to document this sweet older face, and then get her connecting to her daughter.  This is about the most important work I do.  Documenting real people in real places.  Capturing them without knowing how I would be touching their lives.  The spontaneity of it all.

It was truly a good day.  When I see these photos, they make me smile.

She asked me a few times where I would put the photo, and each time I answered that I’d put it on my site for The Wise Photo Project.  I don’t know if she had a bit of dementia, but in any case, I got the opportunity to make her smile, make her connect with her daughter and create photographs that will last for generations.

I want to print them large, like 20×20 and frame and mat them for them.  The magic is in the print.  That is where the photograph lives, and lasts, forever.

Here’s an interesting perspective about film vs digital imaging. Film looks like past tense, and digital looks like present tense. Here’s an example that everyone will instantly understand. If I switch on the TV and the movie The Natural or Angels In the Outfield, or Bull Durham or any other baseball movie is on, in a scene of game action, no one will see the players and think they are watching the sports highlights. They can tell it looks like a movie, and not video from today’s MLB broadcast of your team, whatever city you’re in. It looks like a movie, like it was recorded and saved some time ago. Past tense.

George and Co.Digital imaging looks like present tense, like surveillance footage, really. Just what you shot is exactly what you got.

Film has a dreamy, slightly soft quality, that looks like a moment stored, saved from the past. That’s what draws me to it, its slightly less real quality. Digital photography is sharper than film, I think, so if you’re out to shoot sharpness tests, go digital. But sharpness is not only what makes a great photograph.

Take this image. It’s of a friend and a dear childhood friend of his, goofing around at night with terrible light, hats creating shadows over faces, slightly blurry. Doesn’t matter a bit, this is a moment they’ll always remember. They were poking each other, after I prompted them from their standing, normal (and boring) pose. It’s two grown men being the boys they once were. It’s alive and captured beautifully on Tri-x with an Olympus OM2n with a 100mm f2.8.

I know there’s a need for digital in my work flow, for commercial work. But for personal work, I can’t help but want to pull out the film cameras and save my memories with this special silver-based medium.

When some people go to the hospital to visit a family member, they bring their phone and snap a few pics.  When I go, I use the daylight window light and create a portrait.  And use my Rolleiflex. mldad2014

This was shot with a Rolleiflex 3.5E with a Xenotar lens.  I enjoy composing with two eyes on the “photo” on the large focusing screen, instead of in a viewfinder through a tunnel to one eye.  Have you had this same experience?  There is something about looking it with both eyes that lets me see the finished work as if it’s a small contact print.  I don’t find that I get the same feeling with a digital camera’s viewing screen.  But with the Rollei–maybe because it’s analog–it takes on the feeling of the finished photograph.

I think people find looking into this old box camera not too intimidating.  It’s slow, it’s quiet, it’s kinda nice to look at!

I wonder what would be the result if you compared the portraits from the Rolleiflex to say a Canon 5DmkII, and not just the film look, but whether the expressions would be significantly different with the Rollei?  Is there a warmth and relaxation present that you don’t get with the large Cannon aimed at you?  Your thoughts?

Ah, musings on a summer day!