Sunday, June 13, 2010

a visit

these two have been more for more than 60 years

he goes to visit her daily in the nursing home, where she is due to an illness. such a beautiful moment to witness this commitment.

a friend of mine said it might be worth talking some about this situation. i don't know if it's helpful for people to talk about the process of this but i'll try.

it's a portrait setting, and the challenge here was that the woman was in very poor health. visually it was very challenging to portray her in a way that would not be arresting and almost too over the top.

her mouth hung open and she was unaware of our presence, and it was deeply sad to see her in such poor health. i wondered and struggled with how to photograph her in a way that retained her dignity and reflected the love of the two.

earlier in my career i don't think i had as much concern as i do now, and i can't help but wondering if my own aging, my own mortality, plays into this increasing awareness. we have options as photojournalists and we bring our own thoughts into situations. nothing is truly objective. we worked for a long time to come together to this moment and it paid off.

there is a quote by james nachtwey in the movie war photographer that has always stuck with me. it has helped serve as a guide to me when photographing moments of struggle and sadness, and it makes sense to me.

"the worst thing is to feel that as a photographer i'm benefiting from someone's else's tragedy.

this idea haunts me.

it's something i have to reckon with everyday, because i know that if i ever allowed genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition, i will have sold my soul. the only way i can justify my role is to have respect for the other person's predicament.

the extent to which i do that is the extent to which i become accepted by the other, and to that extent i can accept myself."


Blogger Chion Wolf said...

whoah. breathtaking. thanks for posting this...

8:12 PM  
Blogger Jonas Peterson said...

Absolutely brilliant

11:27 PM  
Blogger Damaris said...

what a powerful and beutiful moment to document.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Red Charlotte said...

Amazing shot. Has me all choked up! I'd blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but I think this would move anybody. Thanks for sharing it.

1:50 AM  
Blogger LK said...

Ross, you've outdone yourself. Beautiful image!

7:20 PM  
Blogger katie said...

lovely ross...

8:03 PM  
Blogger I. O. said...

Powerfully poignant Ross, to be to capture love so deep and eternal. Your comments were insightful and inspiring. Big HUG!

6:59 PM  
Blogger JordyG said...

Just checking out your blog... this is beautiful, Ross. I'm glad you shared a bit of the story, and tou write well.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Your stuff is always great, Ross, but this is amazing. Thanks.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

love the picture, love what you wrote. you are awesome , ross.

8:08 AM  

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