Years ago my grandfather had an old leather suitcase full of old family photographs – he was in the process of writing names and details of everyone on the back of each photo so that they would be known people rather than forgotten faces. Unfortunately he never completed his task…
Roll on a good few years, and a good photographer friend of ours offered to take a photograph of us (my wife, myself and our two young girls) standing outside the front of our house. There’s no fantastic lighting, no hours of post process work in Photoshop, and no very ‘in’ retro/vintage filters applied.
It’s a straight black & white image of a family standing outside their home, and we love it. We love it more as time goes on, and it becomes more and more valuable to us, especially as the girls grow up.
That suitcase and that single photo got me thinking – imagine if we could do this for every person in our family. How great would that be to have a photographic record of us all, in 2014 – a snapshot in time of us all, this year – cool!
So, how do I go about this? There are a lot of people in both our families, and where do you draw the line? Do you include second cousins, distant relatives, step-brothers, etc? To do this I needed some rules that I must follow, otherwise it would never end, and I would never start!
I decided to start with my grandparents, and my wife’s grandparents and go down the blood line from there. So that would be our parents, their children, etc, and keep going down.
I wanted a consistent look, because I really see the end result in a beautiful fine art album. So, take photos of each household (whoever is living in the house at the time of the photography session), take a shot standing outside the house, a few individual portraits, a group shot and a few natural shots. This way we mix some formal and informal and hopefully create a good feel of where we all are living in 2014 – the photos will show house interiors, and details, so in 50 years, those small, mundane, normal and everyday things will be really interesting.
I purchased a Fuji X-Pro 1 camera and lenses, and was invited by Fuji to be an X-Photographer. I’m now one of 200 or so photographers worldwide on the X-Photographers gallery.
So, I’ve also decided to use the X-Pro 1 for this project – it’s a small, light camera system which is perfect for travelling. Not big and bulky like my Canon gear! There’s a learning curve with this camera, and it’s totally different to using what I normally use, so this makes the whole project exciting. This is a personal project, not for a client, so I can afford to take some risks with equipment.
I’ll add some details about each person and each household as part of the project, so that each person is brought to life a bit more – and the details about that person are then there, they won’t be forgotten!
I have an idea of how I want the whole project to look at the end, and I can see each photo and how it will look in the album. I really want to create a time capsule, something that will be precious, and become more precious as time goes on.
I hope that in 50 years our yet to be born family members will treasure them as well!
I’ll try to blog a bit as the project moves along – I have to travel to the USA and Denmark, as well as all over the UK, so that’s really exciting for me! I’ll get to see every person in my family this year.