Thirteen years ago, I embarked on a journey that would forever impact my passion for photography. It all started with my first portrait, a humble yet profound tribute to my grandfather. In this post, I want to share the story behind that photograph, the immense influence my grandfather had on my life, and the technical details of the portrait session that ignited my love for capturing moments through the lens of a camera.
My grandfather was more than just a relative; he was a guiding force in my life. This was a man that was mostly silent, as if most things that happened in the world around him were not worth getting upset about… Except his TV, that was definitely worth the energy. Although, I never saw it during my upbringing, this philosophy has seeped into my bones, though to a lesser extent. His remarkable influence laid the foundation for the deep connection that would be reflected in the portrait I took. As may be obvious, the TV was not broken.
A material part of my story is the camera I used for this portrait: a Minolta XG-M with a 35mm F/2 lens, passed down to me from my mother. I did not know at the time that I was going to care for photography; my creative side was focused in music.
I was using an ASA 400 film shooting at about f/2.8, it was cold outside, my hands shaking… I just wanted to get the photo and move inside. My grandfather’s nose was turning pink, but his presence and widespread joy had me take a few more frames. It was not until after, enlarging this photo in the darkroom, had I felt something in the visual medium. A feeling that I hope I can share with my clients.
As I reminisce about this transformative portrait session that propelled my portrait photography journey, I feeling a need to attribute my passion for capturing meaningful stories but also instilling in me the importance of celebrating and commemorating the lives of loved ones through portraiture to this great man, my grandfather.
The photograph became a vessel for the love and admiration I held for this incredible man: