What can I say about grandparents and grandmothers that you don't know anymore? Grandparents were and are those fascinating beings capable of enduring effervescent activity even better than our parents, those who were never tired for us, those who always hid forbidden food in their pantry, who spoiled us, who put strips and kisses on our knees shattered, that taught us the important things in life, that educated us based on attention and affection, that we forgave everything, with which we established a connection that passed generations, fashions and technology. They and they, who were always there, who endured us and distracted us as they could all summer, who explained stories that made us laugh or shrunk our souls. How little in the end we know about them and how much they knew about you ... You may never have the good fortune to meet them, you may have done it but they are no longer here or you may be lucky and continue to accompany you at this time. Be that as it may, be your grandparents and grandmothers or other people, everyone has something in common: The camera loves them. Do you wonder why? Because the essence of photography is to tell stories, and if the elderly have something, that's it, stories to hundreds, to thousands, behind their backs, stories of long lives, of hundreds of smiles, laughs, frowns and tears. History reflected in each of the wrinkles of your skin, in each of your scars and deep in your eyes.
KNOW HIS STORY ...:If you have older people nearby, you will probably know their history, or at least part of it. It will be easier for you to explain your story through that of the person you are going to portray. If not, if you want to make portraits of older people that you don't know, I recommend that you know their history (or part of it) first. For many reasons:
- They are more fascinating than you can imagine
- You will break the ice, whether you are the one who feels uncomfortable or if it is the person you want to portray who feels cut off.
- You will get an idea of how the person is (flirtatious, reserved, lonely, cheerful, uninhibited, etc.) and based on that you can think of one possible image or another.
NOW, HOW DO I TELL A STORY?Once you decide what you want to explain about that particular person, be it known or unknown, the stories are explained with everything you have around you, from lighting, color, to his absence, to everyday objects, to gestures and frames. Everything, absolutely everything you decide will be explaining one thing or another, so pay attention to all the elements of your image.
ILLUMINATION:In any photograph and, especially in portraits, light is the indispensable element. Only with the light can you explain a thousand stories, you can talk about whether that person is tender or strong, mysterious or clear, cheerful or sad. Learning the basic lighting schemes for portraits will help you explain your story; lateral, frontal, zenith, or rear lighting, soft or hard lights ... They are very simple, and also, once you know them and practice them, they will be useful for both natural light and artificial light.
- Textures: Especially when you photograph older people, the textures on their faces are almost a story in itself. If you are interested in highlighting them, play with the contrast and good side lighting, which will accentuate the textures of the face.
- Don't forget to take advantage of natural light whenever you can. The best hours of the day are still sunsets and sunrises. If you take pictures indoors, try to approach a window as a light source, you will love the results
DETAILS:Although it is the most obvious, a portrait should not always be a face. In an older person, each of its parts reflects the passage of history. You can explain a thousand things through details. Through a hand with a ring, a hand that grips a cane, or penetrating eyes surrounded by the passage of time ... Look for details that speak for themselves, that contain strength and symbolism, and you will have a great portrait too
ACTIVITIES AND DAILY MOMENTS:If you have dedicated yourself to deepening them a little, you will probably have information as valuable as: Is that person flirtatious? Try to photograph her by fixing herself before a mirror, tie, carmine, putting on jewelry or shaving carefully. Is he cheerful? Portray her laughing, happy, spontaneous. Do you like to cook? Well, with your hands in the dough, do you feel alone? Try then to reflect your loneliness, make it small in a large frame, or take advantage of the negative space to reflect your feelings. Photographing someone in an activity will help you explain part of their history and, at the same time, will make if you don't have too much confidence, the person feels more comfortable and less aware of your camera.
TYPE OF PLANE:There are many ways to place a person within a frame. By doing it one way or another, you are also saying many things about it. For example, the closer you are to the subject, the more important this is and the greater the degree of intimacy is reflected in the image. It will also allow you to capture the details of the face in a clear way, the look, the expression…. As you move away, the fund progressively provides information, so it is very important to control the elements of the fund to help you explain your story.
- Use closer shots for more intimate and more detailed portraits of the face.
- Use further planes to provide “extra” information about the environment.
- Control the elements that surround your protagonist; These should provide information related to him or her and not distract the attention of the main subject. If the background does not contribute anything to the portrait, come closer and remove it; Fill the frame.
- Always focus on the eyes: If you do not, let it be because you have made the decision consciously, but not for a mistake
- Practice both vertically and horizontally: We tend to always lean towards horizontal formats because it is our usual way of observing, but the vertical format has many possibilities, among them, it allows you to isolate the person from the background and focus on it at times when That the bottom is not interesting.
EMOTIONS:The best images are those capable of transmitting emotion , either because the person is at that time transmitting an emotion through their body language (crying, laughing, thoughtful) or because you can transmit it in your image through different techniques such as example high or low key photography , point of view, perspective , color, black and white, and so on. If you manage to combine the technique with what that person inspires, you will have an exciting and magnificent photograph.
BLACK AND WHITE OR COLOR ?:There is no rule to use one or the other, because not always an image that works in black and white, does it in color and vice versa, for several reasons:
- Black and white: Black and white is the great timeless. It is able to stop the time to transmit the sensation, the possibility that this image is of today or 50 years ago. It is also more dreamlike (we do not see black and white) and formal, since by stripping the color image, the composition and theme become more important.
- Color: If the image is supported by color; If the color in that image offers a composition, a story or a discourse in itself, it is difficult for the image to work just as well in black and white. For example, imagine an old Indian woman wrapped in a colorful sari with a dazzling blue sky in the background, with gold jewelry and a dark face ... How do you think this image will work better?
RELATIONS:The relationships established by older people are like those of any other person, but with a big difference: Longevity. Many of them are so durable, so old and strong that they have managed to cross the limits of our imagination. Can you imagine a few years from now saying, “I introduce you to a guy or a maniac; We are friends for 65 years ”?
- Friends: Portraying the elderly in an environment of activity with friends will provide you with images full of authenticity and spontaneity. Seek permission from the group, and accompany them in the activities they usually do together. Board games, outdoors, meeting chatting in a bar or in the gym
- Couples: Relationships between two older people can tell almost by themselves a great story. They speak of trust, patience and infinite work, and of course a love capable of overcoming barriers that probably seem to us today, at least complicated. Photographing moments when an elderly couple shake hands, or a hug, talk, look at each other across the table ... It is a magical and also very photogenic opportunity
- Family: Relationships with family members are another important moment in which you can capture fabulous images. They are usually multigenerational moments, children, sisters, grandparents, grandmothers and the best: grandchildren Only someone who has lived will know how grandparents and grandmothers go crazy with grandchildren. Despite the years that separate them, from the vitality of some and the fatigue of others, a grandson or granddaughter is able to revolutionize their world on an incredible scale. So if you have the opportunity to bring these two generations together in an image and you are able to convey the complicity, understanding and adoration that they have for each other, you will have a great image. An image full of contrasts, affinity, vitality and the opportunity to portray a unique moment.
TOPICS:There are many topics associated with the elderly. In some cases they are true and in others not, of course it depends on each person. You can take advantage of them or run away from them, you can use any of them as a universal symbol or turn it over and show the opposite. You can talk about loneliness, about all the knowledge they accumulate, about their dismissals, about tiredness, sadness and melancholy, or you can talk about vitality, sense of humor, desire to live, games, adventures, and follies. All that and much more is part of the world of any person, but in the elderly it seems that everything is lived more intensely
CONTRAST (SITUATIONS):In general, older people have a great sense of humor, so portraying them in a fun way is a valid and very interesting option. Looking for contrasting situations, either because they are presumably “reserved” for younger people, or next to something that highlights them by opposition, can provide you with fun, spontaneous and tender images. For example, look at the image of "punk" and the woman. The way they are sitting, the way they look, the greatness of one and the smallness of the other ... It is based on the contrast between the two people, and get a funny image at the same time tender. What an older person can convey, whether you know it or not, be it a loved one or a person that you find in a casual way on a trip, on the street, or in a nursing home, what those faces are capable of Transmit is amazing. A lifetime full of history, experiences, good and bad, losses, profits, love and heartbreak. They and they are clear winners in all fields of life. And they still have a lot to teach to those who want to listen to them. Not for nothing did they get here (and what they have left). Being aware of their importance, giving them a leading role in our lives, preserving them, listening to their history and learning from them, is an opportunity within our reach. And of course, portraying and preserving them through your images is almost an obligation So do not hesitate to do so, you will enjoy doing it as well as being close to them. And you know, if you liked it and it was useful, share it, you will make us happy . Thank you!.
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