Great Uncle Jack

While visiting my family in Leamington, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to shoot a portrait of my Great Uncle Jack on at his farm. This is the same farm that he’s lived on since the 1930’s. He and my Great Aunt Elvira got married in 1962, and that’s when he built a new house on the farm for them to live in together. He still lives in that house, but my Aunt passed away some years ago. It’s almost a bit of a time warp walking into their place. The pattern on the kitchen floor, the sound of the screen door, the smell of their house, and the most vivid memory are the red brick blocks we used to play with. They were still kept in the same closet as they were 30 years ago.

Uncle Jack is 89 years old. He’s turning 90 in August and honestly he doesn’t appear to be slowing down much. He gets out every day, drives into town to see his friends and help people in his community. He has been delivering farm fresh eggs to us every other day or so since we’ve been here. Hanna can’t get enough eggs. She loves em!

When I asked my Uncle Jack to do this photo with me, he immediately said yes. He said he would be excited to do something like this. In fact, he was very open to what he should wear and where we were gonna take the photo. He was just happy to be making a portrait with me.

When we started the shoot, he kept asking me if I needed him to do anything in particular. I kept reassuring him that just being his natural self was all that I needed. However he kept asking and asking and then finally said, “I have lots of other hats and shirts, would you like me to change it up?” And of course I agreed.

Here are the first shots. Both were taken using the D3 and a few flashes, (SB910 & 900). The first shot was just using flashes for a bit of fill light.

The second shot employed the help of a 6×6 silk to take down the sunlight on Uncle Jack’s face. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure which one I like better.

After the wardrobe change, as suggested by Uncle Jack, he dressed in a hat and T-shirt from the volunteer group he works with. Uncle Jack and others in the Mennonite community in Leamington send canned meats around the world to help others in need. I couldn’t resist shooting him standing proud in his “uniform”.

Here are a few more shots from inside the house. A little more documentary feel to them, and some of Hanna playing with the blocks.

(yes… that’s my Dad working as an assistant. I’m not sure I’d pay him full rate, but he was a good hand)

I am really happy with this shoot. The more and more I shoot my family the more photography makes sense to me. I love feeling the growth.


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One Response to Great Uncle Jack

  1. Andy Hancock says:

    Hey Syx,

    Great shots. Love the nostalgia! My favourite shot is probably the one with your dad as the assistant… just kidding. I absolutely love shot number 2. The last one of your great uncle in his house is a fantastic shot. I’m feeling nostalgic as well… mom and dad are celebrating their 45th anniversary and Lisa and I got engaged on this day in 2002. Great work! Newf

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