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Thread: 2 Questions re Location Portraiture

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: 2 Questions re Location Portraiture

    That would be a NO and Bigger NO.

    Done a project on the elderly back in the 90's using a view camera. None of these images were "taking advantage" in any way as these images became cherished memories for their family members. None of these images can be shared for a very-very long list of reasons. To imply and accuse an artist-creative image maker of taking advantage of those most vulnerable is a very misplaced assertion and lack of understand of this subject and all involved with it.

    ~Enough of that.

    Suggest this book by Imogen Cunningham, After Ninety:

    Medium wide works good for environmental portraits (4x5, 120mm to 135mm, 5x7, 150mm to 180mm, 8x10, 200mm to 240mm). For head-shoulder use the typical longer than normal focal length.

    Get to know the environment and how the lighting changes over the course of the day. Get to know the individuals personality, limitations and what they want to say in the images you're making for them. Ideally, the image will capture some aspect of who they are in their current moment of living. Lighting is a big deal as becomes part of the image made with the specific individual. NO flash, no added lighting if at all possible. Reflective or negative fill is ok.

    Know those older have physical limitations, be patient with them, work with them helping them with their needs, be sensitive to their needs and their families wishes. This is where an assistant can be greatly helpful.

    Try to have the camera placement and all related set up before arrival of the individual to be photographed. This can reduce the stress placed on your portrait sitter. Limit the number of image per portrait sitter to no more than six (ideally one or two) as each exposure of film made stress the portrait sitter. Keep in mind time in front of the camera can be a very stressful event. Do all possible to reduce this often un-appreciated stress on the portrait sitter.


    Quote Originally Posted by earlnash View Post
    "without taking advantage of a vulnerable population"

  2. #12
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: 2 Questions re Location Portraiture

    My last memories of my parents are in the Reminiscence Room which was nothing like the ads

    Sealed room by staff with keys and always locked, seldom clean, literally 'shitty' fabric chairs, all of them, I checked

    Father escaped twice, he was found blocks away at a bus stop. Oops

    They fell, down, broke, bones often

    Both HAD DNR papers, which were ignored over and over again. Heart attacks, quadruple bypass all which they did not want, when they were still sane

    Father in a screaming Rage 8 hours after his Quad, he called me 10 times midnight to 4 am demanding I get him OUT. I talked to the hospital staff, they didn't want to release him. Of course, he was too frail and needed several days at least.

    He was such an asshole he WAS released to a nearby facility at 10 am. I was shocked.

    Saw him there every day, he was abusing all staff loudly, they hid

    Then back to the Reminencse cage. This wonderful company Sunrise

    As Black Sheep middle son, nobody listened to me ever.

    My 2 brothers always scheming and taking the money.

    Which was all gone way too soon, with a 3rd hand, the Pretty Woman Financial Advisor...


    If you know Illinois, all this happened in Barrington, where they bought a condo house to die in as they put it

    They would not listen to me telling them to stay in the one floor house and have help come to them

    They moved into a very fancy retirement home. It cost too much after 10 years. They also had a sealed off side, for the lost souls.

    Yes, I am bitter.

    I sure hope I can sail my ship down the river Styx alone

  3. #13
    Exploring Large Format Exploring Large Format's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Seattle, WA

    Re: 2 Questions re Location Portraiture

    Thanks much to each of you who responded! I learned from every post.

    Especially value the links to other sources. I know that aging, in and of itself, can be a challenging topic.

    The home itself has a great reputation in the community. NOT owned by one of the mega-corps. I had a friend--now gone--who spent several episodes there recovering from a few of his dozens of operations. He was more experienced than anyone deserves in the realm of "care receiving", and he gave them high marks.

    I will do my best to keep everything simple and safe and respectful. That comes through loud and clear. Seems the two most important things are rapport with a portrait model and lighting/lighting/lighting. Neither is about gear.

    And, your posts were good reminder that Mission 1 is serving their needs for human interaction and entertainment. Mission 2, practice for me, will come with time.

  4. #14
    Exploring Large Format Exploring Large Format's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Seattle, WA

    Re: 2 Questions re Location Portraiture


    I had my first session with 5 residents of the Nursing Home. Can't post photos yet due to privacy regulations. Hope to get some release forms, but will likely require the person with Power of Attorney to authorize.

    Two further questions:

    First, how to organize the negatives? I've read much here about this topic, except the basic question of whether to keep ALL the negatives, or just those I print? Due to my newness, I took insurance photos. Typically three for each subject. There was one guy who did autopsy and other medical lab photography with LF back in the day; I took more of him! Unfortunately, his memory just couldn't grasp the details of his career (WWII vet!). But I have unsuitable negatives with eyes closed, etc. I'm ready to purge heavily, but wondering what others do? Steadfastly keep everything, or vicious culling?

    Second, I've been asked now to photograph the staff. I've decided--there are many many more residents to photograph--that I'd need to charge for that. Again, much online about this topic, but not so much for LF. Any thoughts? Again, I'm new, not a pro, so please take that into account. Again, I think the attraction for them is the performative/interactive element. They could easily contract with a digi photographer for basic staff photos.

    Also, I can't convey how much I have put into practice what I've gotten from this Forum. From lenses (Tessar) and shutters (Sinar) and cameras (Norma) to development and printing. And orientation to LF generally and imager-making in particular. Thank you, all.

    And if you are a beginner LF Portraiteer, I can't recommend highly enough reaching out to a local nursing home. Especially post-Covid. It is akin to doing a pro assignment with folks you've never met, but because you're volunteering, the pressure isn't the same. HUGE opportunity for practice that is different from family and friends.

    Thanks again!

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