Their granddaughter has been a client of mine for years, and after a recent session with her family she mentioned the possibility of my photographing her grandparents sometime. Jack and Betty have been married for 68 years, live in their own home together, drive freely through Central Florida (no small task in our area I might add), travel cross-country, and play regularly with their great-grandchildren. After hearing her lovingly describe the pair I knew I wanted to photograph them, but even so, nothing prepared me adequately for the experience.
Can a couple of hours shared with strangers change a person forever? Most definitely yes. I’m of the belief that 15 minutes of genuine connection with another is enough to alter a long held perspective if the participants remain open to it. And so Jack and Betty changed me. Not by dispensing the wisdom of their age, which no doubt they could have, but by demonstrating that at 90 years old, life can still hold plenty of beauty, awe, and passion. Prior to meeting them I couldn’t imagine desiring to live into my nineties, but they make it look pretty darn good, and so I‘m reconsidering.
They weren’t familiar with the area in which my studio is located, and were taking everything in with a sense of wonder not at all unlike the 3 year olds I typically photograph. Though extremely hot outdoors, they willingly trecked along with me to multiple locations and found something remarkable in each spot we landed. And so it was for me……everything was new and fresh seeing through their aged eyes.
The funny thing is, they just couldn’t figure out why their granddaughter wanted to hire me to photograph them. And they were completely baffled at my taking so many photographs! I tried to explain that nothing could be more worthwhile than taking the time to thoughtfully photograph a love story that spans a lifetime, such as theirs. I’m not so sure they ever accepted my rationale, but I do know they had fun, and they felt special, and when they drove away from the studio it was I who was changed. I couldn't stop smiling for hours afterwards, and each time I revisit their images I find myself smiling again.
I’ve put up a temporary gallery of more of their session on my website for anyone who might want to visit. To access it go to: www.cynthiagraham.com Click on “portfolio”, and then “featured Sessions”, and look for “68 years wed”. To view as a slideshow click on the slideshow icon on the lower left hand corner of the screen.
Many thanks to Jack and Betty for allowing me the privilege of photographing their most enchanting real life love story.