Monday, August 03, 2009

In Focus: Grandpa George

I've been trying to take more photos of people as of late. This is difficult, given that taking a photo of a human subject is a deeply personal action, and often, an invasion of privacy. Some photographer folk don't have a problem sticking a camera in someone's face and snapping away. Or perhaps they just have giant zoom lenses. I am gifted with neither the confidence nor the zoom lenses and this makes for a difficult decision. Do I screw up the courage to start snapping or do I ask permission to take someone's photo, typically resulting in a canned, fake-smiled portrait. Something like this:
Of course, sometimes the photos come out well. This one (below) is completely posed yet both of us (that would be Bailey and I) convey general happiness and sincerity. But it's not a smile that was caught in the moment. Not the crinkly-eyed, wrinkly smile that is the mark of momentary true pleasure and happiness. By the way, how many of you noticed that I have a piece of food stuck in my teeth in the upper photo?

Frequently, however, those moments that people aren't smiling or laughing are the most interesting. Take this series of my grandpa, shaving. At lunch today he noticed that it had been a few days since his last shave. I'd have guessed it was closer to three weeks, but hey, who's counting?

But the regular smiling picture is good too. Not too shabby for 98 years old.