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dudler’s latest blog : friends and family

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Friends and family

20 Jun 2021 10:45AM  
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Unique : 81

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As we all – or almost all – start to get out and about a bit more, at least for the moment, it would be possible to separate family events (in my case, a small family party to celebrate Fathers’ Day 48 hours early) from picture taking. We’re doing both more, but are we mixing them?

Mrs D suggested blogging about the gathering, and I thought about some pictures I posted on Christmas Day 2012. And when I turned my computer on, the background image was a shot of Mrs D’s Dad, who died in 2009.

The picture of my father-in-law was a very characteristic one, and there’s been a lot of family interest in prints, because that’s one of the ways that people remember him. A good portrait can happen when posed, but very often it’s unposed images that capture what people want to remember about someone.

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When I posted THIS in 2012, there was something that I (and all my friends in the pictures) knew, but that I didn’t write. One of the group was terminally ill, and we had got together specifically because it was likely to be the last time we could do so. Because of that, I made a special effort to take pictures. Not a lot of them, with a DSLR, but enough: we were relaxed and it was easy to get images that seem to me to show people as I know them.

Most of the time, though, we don’t get notice of forthcoming death… So there’s no sharp, immediate incentive to take pictures for posterity and remembrance. I didn’t know, when I did a remote shoot with Stephanie Dubois in May, that I would be one of the last few photographers she worked with.

Sorry – this is gloomy, but there’s a point. And that point is that as you gather with friends and family, it will be a really good thing if you take some pictures. Don’t make everyone line up (though if someone else suggests it, it should definitely be done!), and don’t hold everything up for half an hour while you fiddle with settings. But get some shots, and let someone else take pictures of you (Dave, please note! I know you think you’re allergic to cameras, but you’re not really.)

If the very worst happens, there will be a treasure beyond price (and make sure that prints are done…) Otherwise, there will be something that everyone can enjoy while the subject is still around to appreciate the love and happiness. And if you have to use a new camera or lens or filter as an excuse (as I did for the shot of my daughter opening a card with a popup giraffe), so be it. Just make sure that you have mastered the controls before you point the camera at the family…

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