A&P Awkward photoshoot v.advice

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Girth, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    A friend of mine called me on Sunday night. His wife is having a baby anyday now, and he wanted to know if I'd do a photoshoot for him, which I have no problem doing. Here's the story...

    The guy (who went to HS with my friend) wants pictures of his mom. Apparently she has been diagnosed with brain cancer and she's been given a year. She is starting radiation today and they want pictures before she loses her hair. He sent me an email thanking me for everything and the willingness to do it. I'm not going to ask for any money, but if they want to give me something, I won't refuse. I guess I just don't feel comfortable asking for money in this situation. Just me. :dunno:

    Here's my question. What type of shots would you guys do? I'm used to bridals, wedding, children, and mostly happy events. Don't want to make it seem like a sad photoshoot, but I want some great shots so they don't see her 'pain' when they look at the pics... and I guess I don't know exactly how to translate that. What type of background, what type of composition, etc.

    Suggestions...?
     
  2. Killyin

    Killyin Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies.

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    Think positive while you're shooting. Is she still mobile? If you can get her out of the hospital...do it!

    I remember when my grandmother was in the hospital with alzheimers. The worst part about the experience other than the fact that a family member is going to die is that you're surrounded by sickness.

    Go to a park or something....and see if you can get her to smile a little. :hs:
     
  3. tetsuo

    tetsuo And shepherds we shall be...

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    if you can, get her out of the hospital, even just right outside of it, find a tree or grassy spot in the parking lot you can use.
    also, its not quite the same, but someone posted this link a a week and a half ago or so, and maybe you can use this for some ideas :hsd:
    http://www.dayswithmyfather.com/#/thumbnails
     
  4. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    get her out of the hospital and do happy portraits. Make her smile. Get her an ice cream cone and some balloons. Do silly shit that will make her family smile and laugh when they see the pictures.

    But more importantly, make the shoot super fun for the mother. After all, she knows whats going on, and knows exactly why you're taking pictures of her. Making her forget that, even for the short time you're shooting would absolutely make her day AND make your pics better.
     
  5. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Ditto to all the above. If you can't get her outside, place her by a window and let her look outside. Besides the beautiful window light, the shot itself can represent her looking towards the "light".
     
  6. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    I saw that link. While they're great pics, it shows the sadness in them... and I don't want to show that. I know they want good pictures to remember her by, and he even mentioned they might use one for her funeral if it came down to the radiation not working.

    I was thinking the japanese gardens here in Houston, pictures with some flowers, etc. :dunno:
     
  7. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    :cool:

    The biggest thing I can relate to in this situation is my own mom. She had brain surgery to remove a tumor at the end of april. She lost movement to the right side of her face and her eyelid had to be weighed down so she can close her eyelid. And on top of all that, she's lost hearing in her right ear as a result of all this. I know the pain of going through this and I snapped some shots of my mom after her surgery for me to remember... And its really hard looking at those pics. She's recovered a lot better than expected and is doing things on her own, but I know the pain this guy is going through on a personal level.

    I guess that's what makes it so tough for me. I want to be sympethatic in my pictures, but I want to show her in a way that they've always known her... Not the cancer patient getting radiation.
     
  8. tetsuo

    tetsuo And shepherds we shall be...

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    i agree that you should get some happy photos and try to get some of her/them smiling, but the fact is that it is a sad time and i would want to try to capture that raw emotion too. :hsd: taking some photos of my family before and after my dad's funeral was really hard, but i honestly think the ones that turned out best show the raw emotion in my mom's eyes. yeah, they are really tough to look at, hell, even tough just to think about looking at them, but they mean a lot to me on a personal level.
     
  9. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    F that sadness/raw emotion stuff.

    The family will see enough of that in person that they won't ever want to see those pics ever again.

    They might be very powerful images, but if no one wants to see them...
     
  10. wizeguy4

    wizeguy4 New Member

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    I can not offer any help as far as pictures but I want to wish you the best of luck with this. You are more than likely go to be taking the pictures that from now until she is forgotten, will be the last photos taken before she dies. To me, you have a big resposiblity here.

    I can say that I personally would want to go more for happy or engaging photos and not ones of sadness and disease. Nobody want to look at a photo and be reminded of how she died, but rather how she lived. Your job will be to capture that. Good Luck
     
  11. tenxia

    tenxia OT Supporter

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    I was gonna say something about the fact you thought about accepting money...but i guess if the guy's not your own friend, then I guess it's ok to accept.

    anyway, definitely happy shots. I like all the ideas ppl posted here.
     
  12. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    Ya, and that's what makes it so awkward for me. Knowing that the pictures I take are going to be the last 'normal' and great pictures of her. Not to mention the possibility of one being used at the funeral.

    As far as money, like I mentioned before, I'm not asking for any. If he wants to pay me, I won't refuse... and I told him in the email I just sent.
     
  13. someonenew

    someonenew He's Dangerous

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    great place, but you might be fucked trying to get in there with a camera. Apparently the city is cracking down on hard on photographers in there.
     
  14. alexromo

    alexromo New Member

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    i feel the same way when i see pics of my grandpas funeral :(
     
  15. bawlinmo

    bawlinmo Neighborhood Graphic Designer

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    I'm by no means a photographer (I don't even own a camera), but I think that places where people have fun will lend to an enjoyable picture, even without smiles.

    A park bench
    the beach
    a carefree walk through nature
    anywhere with flowers
    a lot of sunshine
    bodies of water (lake, river, ocean)
    fountains make great backdrops ( I know there are a few in the downtown houston area)

    my grandmother died a few months ago of cancer, but before we let her go we went to a lighthouse (she loves lighthouses) and took as many photos as we could. Some looked very professional, but most were her with her children and grandchildren.

    hope this helps in some way.
     
  16. bawlinmo

    bawlinmo Neighborhood Graphic Designer

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    I don't know what side of houston you are on, but here on the s.e. side, the San Jacinto Monument would actually provide you with plenty of different shots.
    Water, fields of flowers, the monument itself, a park, the battleship, and much more. Getting into the park is free and photography isn't a problem.
     
  17. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    it does. :cool:

    I've actually been talking to her son, who first contacted me on tuesday (I think). I told him I'd like to spend a few hours w/ them on Sunday morning starting with a few 'natural' shots in their own element at her house or his condo. Then we can take off and go to a few places down by Rice university where the scenery is beautiful and we have plenty of places to take great shots. He said he's going to get back to me, but Sunday is going to be the day I take these pictures. Stay tuned... :run:
     
  18. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    Thats a great idea. I live in Pearland, and work in Deer Park. I know exactly where you're talking about. :)
     
  19. kristin

    kristin my dog > *

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    I completely agree with this..

    Sadness might be good for one or two pictures.. But happiness is what the family really wants to remember :hs:
     
  20. Gvidon

    Gvidon New Member

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    Make sure no family members are present while your taking the pictures...
     
  21. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    What's your reasoning behind this? I was going to do family pictures with the son since he wants to remember her the way she is now. Seems kind of dumb on my end to walk around with her and not have her son around who takes care of her 7 days a week.
     
  22. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    So I did the shoot today... I think they'll be happy w/ the results. I would love to post them, but just because of the situation and the privacy factor of it, I'd rather not.

    Also, wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be. She was a very nice lady and wasn't denying any of her faith. She's accepted it and is totally ok w/ what happens either way. Put my mind at ease. :o
     
  23. bawlinmo

    bawlinmo Neighborhood Graphic Designer

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    glad to hear things went alright!
     
  24. Killyin

    Killyin Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies.

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    Hooray Girth! :big grin:
     
  25. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    :bigthumb:

    Since it was raining, we went inside the natural science museum, in the butterfly exhibit. Got some great shots of her with her son(s), her grandkids, and friends. They loved what they saw of what I emailed to them. Didn't ask for a single penny, but her son insisted on paying, so I didn't even look at what he gave me until I got home.
     

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