This photo was taken at my grandparent’s 60th anniversary, some time around 1970. I took it with my beloved Kodak Instamatic X-15 (I’ll never forget that camera. I saved my allowance so that I could buy it myself, and it was my first camera, in a lifetime of cameras.)
This photo, of my father’s parents, was the first “official” portrait I remember taking. By that, I mean that it was the first time I could see beyond a snapshot of a moment, to a more profound preservation of time. In this case, it was a look that was captured on my grandparents faces – an easy look, a look of love both for the moment being captured, and the one capturing it, and a look that was in no hurry to have the moment pass – something I had never witnessed before with my grandparents. (They were notorious for scrambling to get away when I would attempt to photograph them.)
On this day, all was well, and I could tell that they wanted me to take this photo – this culmination of a lifetime of good times and bad, sickness and health, births and deaths, and everything in between that was agreed to in advance 60 years earlier. That, to me, is what made it a portrait. I can’t explain it beyond that, but it’s what I look for now, whenever I’m taking an official portrait of someone – that moment when all is well, and the feeling that that moment, that ever changing moment, has arrived, simply to be preserved.
Looking at Time. The day my grandparents wanted to be remembered.