The Bride 's Great Grandfather is 102 years old

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by cyn14060, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. The subject line says it all- any special techniques or suggestions
    for photographing the very elderly?
  2. Yah: two goboed hot lights @ 45 degree angle from the camera to reduce wrinkles, a diffused hot-shoe flash to add catchlights.<br>The elderly are best shot with B&W film, Kodak Portra B&W printed on B&W paper an excellent choice.
  3. What's the rationale for trying to reduce the appearance of
    wrinkles in a photo of someone who's over a hundred years old?
    It's not like he or anyone who knows him has any illusions that
    he's young. Why not produce a reasonably accurate document
    of someone who's lived for over a century?
  4. I always use black and white and a soft filter when shooting older subjects... That or a black stocking. Wish I had an example to show you but there is another thread on the Wedding Forum that gives an example.. It really demonstrates how flattering soft filters can be.
  5. soft focus, good luck getting him to smile, some very old folks can be a bit grumpy when it gets to photos, did a 90th birthday shoot yesterday, he wouldn't smile, and the usual inane photographer jokes/comments don't work when the subject's over three times your age and lets you know it with every look! I guess it could be that when he was young you just didn't smile for photos, you were very tight and serious, oh well...
  6. Best advice??? Have the wedding VERY soon...
  7. Cross light him. He earned those wrinkles.

    Hope I can scowl at some whipper-snapper photographer when I make a century. Maybe
    sink my one remaining tooth into the punk's forearm. Then jump out of my wheel-chair
    and fire off a couple frames with my Leica using the last roll of film on earth.

    Wonder what kind of camera they'll be using by then ? (if a camera at all).
  8. I'm going to second (er third?) Mike and Marc on this one; it's silly to try to make a 102 year old look anything less than that.

    Having said that, 1 suggestion. Be willing to go at the man's pace. At 102 he has earned the right to be as slow or as impatient as he likes.
  9. No more then 2 frames per second... he might not be able to handle it :)
  10. Treat him with great respect, of course. Allow extra time to get some interaction going, if you can. Get people to back off from the shoot, if possible.

  11. I have photographed a number of weddings with very elderly relations. I consider this an opportunity to pay great respect to the young and the old. I go out of my way to take fine photographs of the bride and groom, or each seperately, with the patriarchs of the family in a way that is most respectful. On one occasion, my photograph at the wedding was the last photograph ever taken of the great grandfather.

    I consider this to be very important, and not the butt of jokes!
  12. "...not the butt of jokes" Todd, no disrespect meant. I recall my high school English
    teacher Mr. Boswell reminding the class that we should respect the elderly, as it is the
    objective of everyone to become one themselves.

    But lighten up for crying out loud. So serious all the time.

    I also had the honor/responsibility of photographing a great Grandmama 2 days before
    her demise. The Bride was so grateful.
  13. A more serious answer than my first post, Cynthia... <p>
    Assuming their mental capacity is still sharp, people that have survived to near 100 are often lonely. I have had the pleasure of serious conversations with more than a few people well past 90, and nearly all of them have expressed regret that they have outlived family and friends. They have noone to talk with about the things they want to talk about. <p>
    Things like... shared friends, shared relatives, shared experiences. The time we did this, or the time somebody did that... <p>
    Find out some history about the elderly gentleman from the bride's family, then try to engage him in conversation about his past...if you can stumble onto the right subject and you are fast enough, you may get a chance to photograph a twinkle in his eye.
  14. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Elderly people are living history books. No radio, no TV, no computers - what did they do in the evenings? How clean were the streets with all the horses and draft animals and few automobiles? How did one get around in the days before good roads and automobiles?
    Was a trip to town, 7 or 10 miles away, an all day task, planned days or weeks in advance? And this man was actually a teenager the last time the Red Sox won a World Series!
  15. Good point James. 102 years would make it 1902... <p>
    The Civil War would be as distant as VietNam is today. No automobiles and no airplanes. Electric lights and telephones were still years away for most people. The telegraph and steam powered railroad were still king. One room schools and the American Flag had 45 stars. Check this link out for more info... I am amazed <p>
  16. My response came from me, one of the "elderly" people. I began shooting MF film in 1956, which by some of your comments, makes me "elderly." But at my last checkup (December, 03) my cholesterol was 160, BP 122/80, sugar 92, I put 100 or more street miles on my 12 speed every wweek so my "elderly" is probably in better physical and mental shape than some of you "Young-uns".
    "Elderly women" like to be treated aand shot as if they were still young and so, my suggestions.
    Some of you seemed to want to treat us as if we were museum pieces, some of you think we should be subjects for your "art" experiments. Unless dementia has set in, there is a person still inside those old bones, the same one who used to hold you some 30 years ago. But some of you want to "make us look our years". Why?
    Some of you think we are proud of our wrinkles and want them hilighted in a portrait. Wrong!
    Have any of you noticed how Television lights the "elderly" in interviews? Or look at Judge Judy next time. There is a goboed light under the edge of her Bench that blows off the wrinkles under her chin. Look at TV anchors and how they are lighted: blows off the wrinkles and none of them are all that "elderly".
    Have any of you notices how Heather Lcoklear is lit in those L'Oreal commericals? Noticed how models for face makeup are lit? Older female actresses and "elderly" women and men are lit as I suggested.
    But if someone wants to depress or humiliate their Grannie/Grandpa or an elderly client, go ahead, show the wrinkles, let them know what you really think of them.
    Let's see, we didn't get a Telvision (B&W) until 1947, but radio had been around (in NYC at least), since before I was born. Without Television, we actually talked to each other, played board games, went for walks, went fishing, and had all day treks to Coney Island. We touched each other more often too. We ate meals at the table, had sit down coversations. We read BOOKS, sometimes as many as six a month. We played family games. We went to the store every day because refrigerators were small and most didn't have crosstop freezers. But our Moms and wives could cook real food, not that plasticine garbage you guys Nuke in Mocrowaves. And it was a joy to sit and have repast with our Brothers and Sisters.
    We walked to school, every Teacher knew us and our parents and moreover, they gave a damn about how we were doing in school.
    Church held our families and neighborhoods together. We had cops that walked a beat, knew us all by name and probably knew our Dads and Uncles because they went to school with them.
    Yah, rough times back then without all these electronic distractions that gag you "young-uns" time to the point you spend most of your disposable income on batteries to run you electronic gagets. You don't get enough sleeep, a lot of you would die without a Cellphone stuck in your ear and you live at home until you are 40, or move back home because you got a gag-out job that barely pays you enough to make those expensive car payments which is why so many of you move back home: can't pay rent and make car payments on tha measly salary you make.
    Me? I graduated at 16, left home on my 17th birthday when I signed up for the Army and never looked back. My dad took down my bed, broke the plate I ate off of and wished me well.
    Yah, we had it tough but we built this country.
    Built it so good that slackers and laggerts can spend until they are 38 year-old "finding themsleves".
  17. Thank you for the opinion Ed. Good to get many points of view to round out the
    discussion. Here's another.

    My Grandfather was a WW-1 vet of the Blimp Corp that served "Over There". He pulled his
    entire extended family into one house during the depression to make ends meet. He
    worked as a coal miner, then came to Detroit to work in the car factories. No way did he,
    or would he, want some fancy pants Hollywood tricks to make him look any other way
    than the way he was... plain and straight-forward. He was a man of steel and grit, not
    Hollywood Joe or Judge Judy. My father served in WWII as a tail-gunner in a bomber. He
    drove a truck after the war, and eventually became a Fire Fighter Engineer. He walked into
    burning buildings and saved numerous lives while losing comrades in the process. He
    provided for 6 kids, yet was a man that could recite poetry from memory for an hour
    without repeating himself. I once did a portrait of him using a little diffused lighting and
    he looked at me and asked " what the hell did you do to my face? I look like a woman".

    Now my Grandmother and my Mother are a different deal. Women are indeed different. But
    this thread is about a 102 year old MAN.

    The obsession with youth and cosmetic trickery is a real shame IMHO. A result of media
    hype to the point that no one is satisfied with being who they really are.

    As far as "generalizations" about people today. I busted my hump to build a career in
    advertising, and never in a million years would my autoworker Grandfather think one of
    his family would be flown somewhere in the Ford Corporate jet along with the President of
    Ford. I raised two kids and put them through College (the first in our family to get
    degrees). One is in advertising and the other is a Chemical Engineer. Neither of my boys
    lived at home after college, and never have asked to return even in these difficult
    economic times. The food I eat is WAY better than 30 years ago. I know, because I make
    advertising for food companies. As a result of that, and more awareness of health, my
    sons will live longer than me, just like I am now older than my Grandfather when he
    passed away. Yep, I often get up early (like today) but it's because I am very excited about
    a shoot I have coming up. I love my work. I use a cell phone., a computer, drive a car that I
    may not be able to work on like I use to, but I don't have to because it's a better car than I
    had to drive 30 years ago. We all still have family dinners, and I know from research that
    more people do that than you might expect. So, don't buy into all the TV media hype. TV is
    a fantasy land that people confuse with reality to often. Things change, and not always for
    the better. Life is a bit more complex now. Time can become a challenge if you let it. But
    by in large things are better, and my 80 year old father agrees they are a heck of a lot
    better... which satisifies him, because that's all he ever wanted for his kids... a better life
    than he had.
  18. Well, I guess from the response of Ed and Marc that there is no pat answer for the approach to shooting older people. My Dad is 74 and is going on his second face lift and gets botox injections. He's in the construction business - go figure. I guess there is no right answer here. Perhaps assessing the personality might help. Or, maybe shooting for character and also shooting something flattering. My favorite pics of my grandparents are the flattering ones...but that's me.
  19. No fair! You don't get to define "flattering" in terms of your preferences for soft lighting and filters. As Marc pointed out, some might see that effect as insulting rather than flattering.
    But if someone wants to depress or humiliate their Grannie/ Grandpa or an elderly client, go ahead, show the wrinkles, let them know what you really think of them.
    What? Show them that I have no expectation that someone who has lived for 102 years should have smooth, flawless skin? I could argue that warping their appearance with lighting and filters because you assume they are insecure about their looks shows less respect than presenting them in a more straightforward manner.
  20. Hey Mike -- you having a bad day ;-)
    I do think I said shooting for "character" as well as something "flattering".....
    Here we are trying to figure out which the elder person would prefer - - and, which the family would prefer. And since we can't "know" that....shooting both would be a good idea.
    My Dad would want something soft and flattering that didn't show his wrinkles. Marc's Dad would not want to be shot to look anything than who he is.
    This thread has shown me that some people would prefer honesty in a photo of themselves and others - a bit of artistic deception... Also, when I use the word "flattering" that doesn't have to mean soft filters, it could mean lighting. Cheers..
  21. The only butt of my jokes during a shoot is myself, To make others the butt of jokes especially when they or their relations/friends are paying you, ain't my way! Didn't make him laugh though..

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