aunt carol

Aunt Carol's Portraits

I am reasonably satisfied by the trajectory my portraits are tracing so far. On one hand I am working with models who I have never met before. On another hand I am working with people with whom I have some kinship. As I follow this trajectory it becomes clearer that I must say something real and genuine through these portraits, and this real and genuine “thing” must come from me and I must project it into the portrait.

Aunt Carol on the side of the house
F4, 1/30 sec
Face: EV 10 1/3 placed in zone 7

I spent a Saturday afternoon taking Aunt Carol’s portraits. We photographed outside the house in which she and many many members of her family were brought up. For generations this house was a concrete waypoint as children and grandchildren grew up through countless Christmas, Thanksgiving, and graduation ceremonies. This is Granny’s house and Granny is gone. This house will be gone too someday.

Aunt Carol in the front lawn in direct sun
F5.6, 1/500 sec
Face: EV 15 placed in zone 7

I live nowhere close to the home in India where I grew up. I have fond memories of my time living in Jacksonville in a cave of an apartment. Over time I have left these homes to build a renewed sense of home somewhere else. I have lost something in the trade but also gained something new. This was on my mind when I asked Aunt Carol for portraits. I wanted to capture this sliver of time in Aunt Carol’s life that will become a memory once she transitions into a new place of her own.

Aunt Carol on the side porch
F4, 1/30 sec
Face: EV 10 1/3 placed in zone 7

Now, on to some technical details. I shot this with Portra 160 on my Mamiya C220 medium format camera. I like the colors of this film over its 400 speed version. Choice of venue is an ingredient to which I must pay more attention. I find it is easier to establish my idea in the portrait when people are in their own familiar space. I will have to test this hypothesis before I draw any firm conclusions.

I will eventually settle down with black and white film — my new home — but I am enjoying this journey with color film while I get there.