Awaiting the passing of a loved one.

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by guitstik, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I am at a crossroads as I write this as our immediate family is gathered around expecting a grand matriarc of ours to pass ending a long and protracted suffering. She has been in hospice care for some time now and she has been deteriorating at a rapid pace but just this past Monday her oldest child left us unexpectedly and I fear that the news of his demise has excellerated her condition.

    The problem I am having is that as a photographer I am wanting to record the love , respect and high regard that we hold for her. My intent is not to capitalize on her pain but to exposite those around her as the family that she has watched over and reared over the years and are now paying the respect and admiration that she deserves. The question then becomes, should I or would that be an intrusion into a somber occasion?

    Joel
     
  2. ath

    ath Member

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    Do it, with respect, but do it. Talk to the others about it so they understand what you are after.
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Go low key. A simple manual cameral loaded with tri x pushed, etc.

    Do the simple stuff. Existing light. Medium wide angle, so some dof in existing light. Zone focus, or if too dim, string length focus.

    A close up of a younger one holding her hand.

    A pictture of any valued photos etc, arranged by her bedside.

    Make it just a sideline of your dropping by to visit.

    Make the time to vist with maybe a dozen images. The visiting will stay with you with an image or two to remind you of the time you spent.

    Time spent photographing without making the conversation is not the same.

    Do be pragmatic. Find out when she might be more alert, as opposed to napping.

    See if it lines up with when the highest levels of available light occur.
     
  4. la.triglia

    la.triglia Member

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    Dear Joel,
    We can say that you are touching an eternal dispute. In similar or even deeper situation within the family, I decided to go over the photo lover’ task and I accepted to be a member of that tragedy not a reporter.
    Best regards
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I've been in your shoes too many times.

    If she's willing, go ahead. If not, don't.

    With my Dad the best portrait of him was taken during his time in hospice. As he deteriorated I put away the camera. To be honest, I wouldn't want any pictures of him in that condition. The memories in my head hurt enough.

    Do what's right for her, you, and your family. You know what's right; we don't!
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Personally, I'm not sure it can be easily recorded. If it can be, perhaps incorporate themes that are important (such as a family group picture if its' not too complicated) to her rather than the stark pain and deterioration, which isn't telling the whole story.

    Perhaps after she passes, you could build a slideshow of family photos that do tell the whole story. The theory is, that it's already recorded and you just have to assemble it. I've done it twice, and helped others with it. It can be tough and rewarding, and doesn't require the same social graces that one might want to have when photographing someone's last days or hours. It's not analog in that you'll probably do it with a computer, but you'll be carefully handling lots of great and meaningful analog photos created during the course of her life. It's truly telling an important story with photos, and family and friends will appreciate it (perhaps to the point of being overwhelmed by memories at first), people will learn new things, and it can complement the life celebration / funeral events in many cases.
     
  7. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I have decided to forgo the photography and be a supportive husband and family member. I am not comfortable sittinge idly by as we await the inevitable and the idea of committing her suffering to film is not a pleasant consideration. I plan on taking the addvice that several here have postulated and put together a collage of her life from the photographs that we already have. I appreciate all the addvice and encouragement that you have given. For now tho, I will be giving my family all the encouragement and support that I can.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Is she a person who treasures photographs? If so, it may be fair to ask yourself whether she would appreciate or would have appreciated your photographing those around her.
     
  9. Grif

    Grif Member

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    Been there,,, no photos, glad I didn't.

    Having said that, my thoughts are with you. Hang on to the little bits of pleasure however you remember them, film, memory or notes that will happen on this voyage, those thougts will stay around a long time no matter how they're recorded.
     
  10. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    My wife's Grandmother passed away tonight. She will be sorely missed.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Sure, you should do it, I think, if it will be worth doing the way you can do it. Don't forget that being respectful of your family comes first, though. How you act in this situation is far more important in the end that any pictures you might get from it.

    Waiting for the inevitable event is harder than the event itself. You have my sympathy. I think we all have probably been where you and your family are, at least in some way.

    Good luck!
     
  12. altair

    altair Member

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  13. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I could not, in clear conscience, photograph this once grand woman in her present condition. In the end she was so frail and wasted that I could not stomach remembering her that way. I would rather keep her memory as she was and we do have photos of her in the last years. I have more reason now to record the legacy she leaves behind, her children and grandchildren.
     
  14. Grif

    Grif Member

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    Wish I'd taken more pic's of the kids and wife back when. We've just never been much of a photo family, and most of the stuff I do is not people. Trying to get better, but still end up with only one or two people pics on a roll of other stuff.

    Might do a scrap book, and have everyone write down something they remember about her.
     
  15. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Grif, my wife is in charge of that for now.
     
  16. dentkimterry

    dentkimterry Subscriber

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    My Dad passed away Sept 9th in hospice care. Neither I or my brothers could take any pictures of this giant of a man, to us, in his frail condition. I am glad we didn't. No regrets.

    Terry
     
  17. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    I think you have made the right decision. Not everything in life is a photo opportunity. To be there in person is enough.

    Vincent