Not just snapshots in the plan of recording my children’s lives, that is. In between the photos you see here, we have thousands of snapshots filling real albums that have been pored over so many times that the spirals are barely hanging on and duct (or duck) tape serves as bindings.
For many, real photos and albums belong to a bygone era. Digital imagery has made a few things possible, two of which are, snapping many more images than with film, and dropping them into safe black holes, where we’ll surely fetch them soon enough to enjoy them once again.
The first couple of portraits here were done before I opened June Jacobsen Portrait Design. I was active in a local camera club and read every last word I could find on the art of photography and the technique as well. I went to museums and studied paintings of the Masters. And my subjects? my children, of course. Not just to practice, but because I needed beautiful images of them. I still do. And now I need beautiful images of my grandchildren. So a few words about the following portraits…
I passed through my dad’s garage one afternoon and noticed a fine piece of sturdy fabric draped over a sawhorse. I wondered what dad was doing with a prop (backgrounds are props) of this merit in his garage. What’s the deal, dad? It was a paint dropcloth, he said. That’s not how I see it, I said. So it was that my collection of props and backgrounds began, this one larger and more versatile than my Rembrandt Window Shade in post #1. Grunge has actually come full circle, having been reinvented even as Photoshop Brushes.
‘How to control & use PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING’, David Brooks, 1980, page 96. A photograph of a man and the description of the light setup. Matt, honey, could I borrow you for a few moments?
For the background I hung a piece of navy velour, and covered a small table with the same. Ripped it off of something, not sure. Grabbed some colored pencils and a clear glass (so you could see the pencils) and poured a little wine (jk, lol). Grape juice. The white paper reflected a bit of light back into Matt’s face, and the lighting setup was one light and a reflector of white board. (Mind you, at this point, I had no clue I would soon be starting a portrait studio business.)
This was shot on Kodachrome slide film. Active in the Paumanok Camera Club at the time, I entered the slide in the monthly club competition, and then at the year-end PFLI competition and it went on to win the Leonard Victor Award for the best image of the year. A 24-inch Canvas Gallery Portrait of Young Rembrandt hangs in my studio as we speak.
1984 and I’m thinking maybe I could do something with this passion I seem to have for making very cool photos! One portrait session I did that year in my kitchen/dining area was Matt and his dad. Years later I made a Christmas gift out of the portrait and added a part of a Bible verse.
Still in my largish kitchen-studio and currently operating as June Jacobsen Portrait Studio, I needed a photograph of my son in ‘the attic’ exploring and finally pondering some old family photo albums. And here it is! Some 26 years later, and one of the other images from this session is still displayed over my fireplace. Our cat played a roll in the session and that’s the one I chose for a 30-inch canvas portrait.
Ever on the hunt for new and exciting ways of annoying my children, I decided I needed my own Huck Finn shot. This is it, at Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale, one of the most serene and beautiful places on Long Island.
This old apple tree was good to us for many years. She’s actually still in the studio’s service, providing the set for many portraits, though her limbs have fallen to earth, one by one, and for a few years now. We’ll be sharing Blossom in future posts, we will. This is on my one-acre parcel, hidden away behind the house and studio and cottage.
Skipping over a few years (my goodness, it’s so hard to choose just a few photos to share!), my latest portrait of Matt at his favorite pastime, fishing. He’s a good little captain, and one day he’ll have his own business taking folk out for Deluxe Fishing Jaunts. That will be my second career. Photographing the clients hauling in big catch. Wait, maybe third career. The second is teaching photography on wildlife tours.
PS. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4.