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Old Feb 19, 2008, 5:57 AM   #1
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When we last did 'Portraits' in July I posted one or two pictures of my late father. We're now on to my wife's parents, about 10 years younger.

I had a birthday party as never before last week (14Feb). My father -in-law has just arrived, after a succession of problems, in a nearby Care Home. The staff held a wonderful Valentine's Day party for the elderly residents, and my wife & son & mother-in-law gave them a vocal and instrumental concert for about an hour.

As my son played the folk tune 'Devil among the Tailors' on his fiddle, the audience burst into spontaneous rhythmic clapping to the tune, and father-in-law emerged from his own confusing, distant world to clap along with everyone else. My wife, looking on in a break from her singing, was moved to tears as she spotted him, as was I.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 6:10 AM   #2
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Meanwhile, his wife, my mother-in-law, was doing her bit accompanying my wife (clarinet & vocals) & son on an unfamiliar keyboard borrowed from one of the care assistants. Although she finds performance highly stressful, she has loyally accompanied her children & grandchildren whenever necessary for the 30 years I've known her, and long before that.

She's had a very tough time indeed for the last couple of years, with not a lot of 'Ragtime Fun', and here it shows. She has to concentrate hard.

I actually managed some other shots where she, unprecedentedly, felt she looked OK. So I may post one later. These were done from constrained viewpoints with inadequate lighting & equipment, so I know quality& composition isn't brilliant!
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 11:11 AM   #3
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Almost documentary mode. While not filled with the visual zing of happier moments they tell us one side of these individual's lives so carefully lived and difficult to appreciate.

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Old Feb 19, 2008, 12:43 PM   #4
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Hi Alan,

Thanks for sharing the background, stories and aspects about these wonderful people! As you show, capturing photos about our loved ones is an important, and precious thing to do, often regardless of how good the "quality" of the actual outcome might be...

Best wishes for you and your family..

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Old Feb 19, 2008, 4:52 PM   #5
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I'd like to chime in here. There is nothing wrong in "documentary photos" because it's not the technical quality and the artful composition that makes it worth looking at them - it's the story that they go along with. The photo on it's own wouldn't tell the whole thing, not even with a caption, it's the sum of both - story and photo - that makes you remember a moment.

Since you posted both and thus I can see the "full picture" I can understand what you wanted to show and that's what these photos were meant to do.

While "technically" those photos wouldn't win you a price they perfectly fit the challenge - they are portraits in a very deep/strong meaning.

Thanks for sharing and don't hesitate to post more - just remember that if the picture won't provide the whole thing - some explaining words are welcome so we know what we see and why it's special.

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Old Feb 22, 2008, 8:24 PM   #6
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I agree with Th. It's not so much the person in the portrait as the feelings they portray. Good job, Alan.
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