70 Things to Love!
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older why I’ve noticed this recently. In fact we all are getting older, but I’m observing so many fabulous women at 50+. Don’t misunderstand me, 40 is still rocking it, but this got me thinking after a recent event shoot – a 70th birthday party, and I was mesmerised by the leading lady. Such grace, such presence and beauty. Granted, we all can see her life in her face and yes we all can hazard a guess at her age; yet still she was and is beautiful.
She had her immediate and extended family and friends around her celebrating this achievement and she was radiant. One could see that she embraced the ageing process and each line and grey hair was not out of place. In fact the lines enhanced her smile as the grandchildren gathered around her for a particular shot.
For the photographer this is another birthday do to provide coverage. You know the drill and if you are not careful, you’ll end up stagnant, dull, predictable and with services that are unwanted.
What do I mean? When you’ve done a few private and family event shoots you inadvertently develop a formula. This may be fine for a straight forward coverage of a business conference, but each family is different and while they have commissioned your services based on your style or a referral, they still expect something a little different for their shoot. And why not? I would. I would want the feeling of uniqueness too. How do you do that as a photographer? How do you make your client feel like the service you are providing is a little different….will be a little special and will have an outcome that they have not seen before navigating through your website? Hmmm. A difficult one to answer at first glance but that’s where the creative process comes in. If you are of that mind and disposition then this is where you shine or break!
Actually, I quite enjoy the process of creation and it is always a part of my preparation for a shoot.
What can I do differently to not only have self-fulfilment at the event shoot but to also give my client something they have not seen before?
Compositions are played around in my head and I’d replay the consultation I’ve had with my client (the daughter of the leading lady) in order to map my ideas onto her requirements, onto the time given for the shoot and onto the theme of the occasion. This probably sounds more complicated that it truly is. This part of the process is done automatically, it’s a quiet internal dialogue you have with yourself and this happens at the strangest of times and environment. I could be out shopping for groceries and in parallel creating compositions to jot down later. Always trying to test myself, to see if I can come up with something that is different to the norm or what can be deemed my ‘style’ of photography.
Yes, I’ve been given my spec for the event, but I do love it when the client gives you carte blanche and allow your creative juices to flow unabashed and untrammelled. When that happens, I seize the opportunity and some of my favourite works are created. They tend to end up in my end of year ‘A year in Photography’ video that I’ve posted on my professional sites since the beginning of my career in professional photography.
Back to the shoot. The leading lady reminded me of a Swiss version of the Hollywood icon Sophia Loren and you can’t help but wonder what she was like in her heyday, especially with a few of her friends at the birthday do having their secret jokes together and being able to capture that. There is something strange and uplifting about the times we are living in now. Women have come into their own, embracing life, making choices and not ‘giving up’ because visual media dictates that youth and being young have more currency than the mature being. I believe there will be a shift soon. More powerful individuals in the visual medial world will see what a lot of us are seeing now, the beauty of the over 50s and how they have so much to offer. How they are already offering SO SO MUCH!!!! Oh, the stories they can regale us with and the priceless advice in abundance. It doesn’t require creativity to see the treasure trove that is the woman in their second-half. Uninhibited, unapologetic and unbashful. Listen. They have a lot to say!
About Elaine Pringle-Schwitter
A dual British/Swiss citizen, Elaine Pringle-Schwitter works predominantly between her two home countries. After two decades in the corporate world in London, Elaine changed paths and is now an award winning photographer who has had photographs published in several major publications.