Creative opportunities sometimes present themselves when least expected. To be honest, during this pandemic, for the most part I have felt less than creative and passed on opportunities to present my work or participate in art sales because it added another thing on my to-do-list and I couldn’t prepare for it properly. I didn’t feel at all like I would be showing my best work.
Starting a new, full time, job this past fall didn’t help this scenario. My camera has collected dust on the shelf and my only creative output was phone photography at Lemoine’s Point during my runs there. Which also of course counts for something.
The full time job is challenging and gratifying in it’s own special way. As I tackle my administrative tasks, little pockets of time open up to actually get to know the people I work with. It is a pretty special setting because not only do I actually get to go to work, and I not only have co-workers that I enjoy spending my days with but I also have a building full of seniors to get to know, as my work is in a retirement community. I feel honoured that residents are opening up and sharing bits and pieces of their lives with me.
This past Holiday season, there wasn’t a Holiday Party to be had in our retirement community, at least not in the same way it would have been celebrated prior to being in the middle of a pandemic. Things were planned with mask-wearing and social distancing in mind. So photos with Santa could actually happen, with residents and Santa apart on each side of the fire place. When Santa visits, you need photos. This is were I came into the picture (well, I’m actually never in the picture but always behind the camera…). It was a wonderful opportunity to capture residents having a good time – a welcome break from the quiet routine everyone is currently in.
I did not expect residents to be such eager, playful and relaxed models – they were so much fun to photograph. Portrait photography is not something I have dabbled in much, as I have so far shied away from the pressure to produce results and please my subjects. So there is quite a learning curve ahead of me, I only now bought a proper flash that will not blind my models. As it turns out, I did not catch every resident that wanted their photo taken on the night of the Santa visit. People have reached out to me to have their portraits taken – couples who haven’t had photos of themselves taken in years, a sweet lady who was sad to have missed Santa and the list goes on.
My camera is off the shelf and on my desk at work, no longer collecting dust. The one-time Santa photos have turned into an ongoing project that I immensely enjoy. It adds a special event for residents to look forward to and gives me the opportunity to spend some time with them and get to know them a little better. I am asking residents how they feel about me sharing their portraits, and with their permission will showcase them here.