The pleasures of plain ol' family snapshots

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by ntenny, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just had one of those "WOW" printing sessions. I'm a real novice printer, so it's not like I produced The Technically Perfect Print That Glows In The Dark, but I got a good print of an image that people are actually going to look at and care about, and I thought that was cool.

    See, we vacation every year at the same place on the Oregon coast, with the same group of families---many of those families are now into the third generation, with the children of people who grew up together growing up together. We drove up this year, so I was able to pack along a pretty serious load of photo gear, including my 5x7 Eastman 2-D, a gigantic moose of a camera in oak and brass, with matching tripod and holders.

    I mostly used it for landscapes, but it occurred to me that I should take my 3-year-old son and the gang of kids he plays with, sit them all down in one place, and take a group portrait with the big camera. So I did, and of course people boggled at the camera and giggled at me getting under the darkcloth to focus and all that, and I emerged, squidged a holder in, dry-fired to make sure the settings were sane, pulled the darkslide, said "Try to look like a person!" and shot.

    The result is a picture of five little kids and a dog sitting on a staircase, with some motion blur (nobody under voting age can hold still for 1/8 of a second unless they're asleep) and no particularly interesting compositional elements. It ain't art; it's a snapshot, but taking it was loads of fun.

    And tonight I got in the darkroom with the negative, and my first test print was dead-on and looked great, at least to the eye of the parent of a subject. I took it out to show to my son, and of course he lit up and identified everyone in the photo and wanted to play with it. Made a second one to send to the grandmother of most of the other kids, at her request. I figure in future years I'll try to do the same thing, and after a while we'll start getting photos of five disreputable-looking teenagers (and probably a dog) sitting on the same staircase, and future descendants can wonder what that was all about.

    None of this is the kind of photography we normally talk about on APUG, because People Don't Do Vernacular Photography On Film Any More, much less with a large-format camera and contact prints. But dang, it's fun to do it that way!

    I don't have a point. I just wanted to crow about a successful printing session and the fun factor of using the photographic medium as it used to be done. Hey, does anybody know where I can get one of those birdies on the end of a stick to hold up and make the kids smile?

    -NT
     
  2. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

    Messages:
    585
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    El Cajon, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    We wanna see the picture!

    :tongue:

    m
     
  3. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Hear, hear! Score another one for analog! Great story! Creating memories, tradition is where it is at!
     
  4. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Let us see. :smile: I share the same sentiments. I have a godchild who I treat like a son, and I must say the best pictures I have taken are the ones of him. I still had a digicam back then, but I used analog for all his pictures. :smile:
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,289
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here's a great big pat on the back! Now show us the (money) shot.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It was still wet when I posted yesterday, but here it is. Color scan, partially desaturated so that it looks about right on my monitor, lightly sharpened to compensate for the scan, otherwise unmanipulated. (The spot on the girl's hand and the weird smudge on the boy just right of center are there on the print; I'm not sure if they're from the negative or just this print.)

    Minutiae: Eastman 2-D 5x7, 210/4.5 Fujinar-SC, Fomapan 100 at EI 50 in PC-TEA, either f/16 or f/11 at 1/8, Fomalux 312, Dektol 1+2.

    -NT
     

    Attached Files:

  7. philruss

    philruss Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Houston area
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's the way to please the whole family!
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,119
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    thanks nathan ...
    THATS what its all about
    not film and developer combinations
    or alpha rays ..

    THIS IS IT !

    made my day :smile:

    john
     
  9. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

    Messages:
    585
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    El Cajon, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Looks good. Your little boy had sure grown.

    m
     
  10. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Brilliant! This is what it is all about! Your write up and photo are exactly why analog is so special!
     
  11. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    580
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Your photo is just gorgeous! Having restored many of my grandparents' family photos, these shots are to be treasured. (Making note of who is who in the photo and when and where it was taken is a blessing for future generations also - just as a side note :smile: )
     
  12. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A friend of mine has an old family photo---no one is quite sure who's who in it or where and when it was taken, and the contextual clues are really limited; but thankfully some helpful person wrote on the back: "Taken three days ago." :smile:

    -NT
     
  13. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,310
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you for sharing. My experience with family group pictures has always been that the dogs are the easiest of the group to have right in every negative.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  14. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,289
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Outstanding! A true treasure. The kids in that photo will be able to look back on that day in their memories when they have their own families, and recall the fun they had getting there. All because of you!
     
  15. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

    Messages:
    580
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yep, that definitely tops the dozen or so photos I have labelled with things like "My mum" with no idea who made the notation.
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Family is a common B&W film subject of mine too! Keep it up.
     
  17. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

    Messages:
    2,058
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Make many more of this type of photo. 50 or 100 years from now your descendants will be happy to see them, just like you probably look at old family photographs. On the other hand, the likelihood of being able to view a similar picture taken digitally in 50-100 years are slim and almost none.
     
  18. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,177
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Washington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Awesome photo. Thanks for sharing.
     
  19. bblhed

    bblhed Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    North Americ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is one of those photos that some or all the people in the photo will keep for as long as they all remain close. You did a great job there.
     
  20. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

    Messages:
    858
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Newmarket On
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, thanks for sharing your story. Actually the point I take from this is that we should take more family pictures and don't take people around us for granted. Your kids will be around for a while longer so you have a good chance to build up a photographic memory. I blame myself for not taking the portraits of my parents while I had the time, the equipment and they were still around. It just breaks my heart, I was the "so-called" family photographer, and I took pictures for the last 25 years of everything under the sun except my parents. How stupid of me! Yes, I have the occasional snap-shot at X-Mas or a birthday party but have never asked them to sit for me for a family picture.
     
  21. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

    Messages:
    3,033
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Location:
    Eight miles high
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hearing that makes me really glad that I've taken thousands of family pics going back to when Michael Jackson was still black, the Soviet Union still existed, hair was big and Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were topping the charts.....mobile phones were the size of breezeblocks and nobody had one apart from Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street'. I'm also glad that I've always applied the same standards to photographing my family as I do to landscapes, architecture etc [thankyou Emmet Gowin, Harry Callahan, Nicholas Nixon and Sally Mann].
     
  22. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,346
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1
     
  23. Chlo

    Chlo Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So glad you've posted something on this. Im constantly told as a student that my family portraits need to have a "deeper meaning" its refreshing to see you've created a project purely on making memories and documenting the kids.
    Thanks.