The last family portraits

sunnyside_up

<span class="poty">POTY (Joint) 2016</span>
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Bethy
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#1
I've had a few shoots recently, but this one really got to me. Robert has been diagnosed with the big C (pancreatic) and the prognosis is grim, he doesn't have long left, bless him. His daughter contacted me to arrange a shoot as quick as possible so she could have some last photos while he was still able. Robert was so weak and frail, and I nearly teared up a few times. And knowing that this was the first and last time I'd ever see him was heartbreaking as he reminded me of my own father, whom I wish I had been able to do the same thing with before he died.

I actually felt guilty for taking their money.

Really emotional shoot.

Anyway, this is Robert, and his wife Carol.. and of course, their daughter and beloved grandchildren.

Thanks for looking.

Robert
by Beth Botterill, on Flickr

Robert
by Beth Botterill, on Flickr

Robert
by Beth Botterill, on Flickr

Robert
by Beth Botterill, on Flickr

Robert
by Beth Botterill, on Flickr
 

blakester

Shine On Harvest Moon
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Iain
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#2
Lovely work Beth, I particularly like the last one in the series. Great pose from them all being connected.
The one above is a bit special too, genuine smile/reaction from who I would assume is Roberts daughter?
 
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Jim
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#3
Bethy, you know I love your work as a rule and I genuinely don't think they could have gone to anyone to better show the emotion and the connection and the personalities quite like you have.
As always, lighting and processing is spot on but that's not what's important here. You have done a superb job of getting some images which really do mean something, and not in that they are probably the last ones - what the images you've created communicate to the viewer is what really stands out. If I didn't know the back story I would say the same. Knowing it makes the images even more powerful.

Amazing job (as always! although there's probably some cloning to do somewhere ;)) and rest assured you've more than fulfilled the brief here.
Regards
Jim
 
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Matt
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#7
4 is excellent
 
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Jacques
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#10
This is so incredibly sad.

I know we all need to embrace this reality some day, but knowing that your time has been cut short in such an immediate way is heartbreaking! Even more so seeing him with a smiling face with everything he will be leaving behind!

That being said, you have ones again shared some beautiful photos and I still believe you are a master of your own amazing style.

All outstanding, but 3 and 5 do stand out amongst the rest..
 
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Jamie
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#11
I've had to do a couple of these kind of things before. The worse one was a young mum with a 5yr old son.

You've done well there though, fantastic photos.

People say it should be easier with portraits as you don't get only one chance, like at a wedding but it's not always true.
 
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Kris
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#12
There's a 'togetherness' in all of these which really comes through, I bet they're delighted with them. A very moving story to put it all into context, an excellent record for them to cherish. Excellent as always Beth.
 
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Steve
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#15
I am lost for words at these pictures, so excuse these three - They are, for me, the only ones I actually feel sum your work up, given the underlying nature of what the shoot represents -

Sensitivity, Poignancy and Dignity.

Thank you for sharing.

Steve
 
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sunnyside_up

sunnyside_up

<span class="poty">POTY (Joint) 2016</span>
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Bethy
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#16
Lovely work Beth, I particularly like the last one in the series. Great pose from them all being connected.
The one above is a bit special too, genuine smile/reaction from who I would assume is Roberts daughter?
Thank you Iain. Yes, this is his daughter. He's quite proud of her as well.

Bethy, you know I love your work as a rule and I genuinely don't think they could have gone to anyone to better show the emotion and the connection and the personalities quite like you have.
As always, lighting and processing is spot on but that's not what's important here. You have done a superb job of getting some images which really do mean something, and not in that they are probably the last ones - what the images you've created communicate to the viewer is what really stands out. If I didn't know the back story I would say the same. Knowing it makes the images even more powerful.

Amazing job (as always! although there's probably some cloning to do somewhere ;)) and rest assured you've more than fulfilled the brief here.
Regards
Jim
Thank you so much. I think knowing the story behind them like you say, brings more meaning to them. Thanks for the feedback. :)

All very moving but #4 !!! very special.

Oh, and the choice of lighting for the first one is clever. It would have been 'easy' to just do a big soft Rembrandtish thing.
Thanks Simon. Can't beat an overhead gridded softbox. :)

Number 4 for me, I`m sure the picture and memories it brings back will be treasured by the children for many years.
Thanks for your feedback Keith.

Lovely, lovely. That first portrait of him alone is just beautiful!
Thanks Gareth. Much appreciated.

Thanks Matt.

(y) thanks for sharing
Thank you Jak.

Those are beautiful and very meaningful. I understand the "not much time left." My son in law's father passed away last week of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed barely six weeks prior to passing away.
Thank you Paul.
Cancer is horrible, but pancreatic seems to be a death sentence, and a quick one at that. I'm sorry for your loss.

This is so incredibly sad.

I know we all need to embrace this reality some day, but knowing that your time has been cut short in such an immediate way is heartbreaking! Even more so seeing him with a smiling face with everything he will be leaving behind!

That being said, you have ones again shared some beautiful photos and I still believe you are a master of your own amazing style.

All outstanding, but 3 and 5 do stand out amongst the rest..
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your feedback Jacques.

I've had to do a couple of these kind of things before. The worse one was a young mum with a 5yr old son.

You've done well there though, fantastic photos.

People say it should be easier with portraits as you don't get only one chance, like at a wedding but it's not always true.
Thank you Jamie.

There's a 'togetherness' in all of these which really comes through, I bet they're delighted with them. A very moving story to put it all into context, an excellent record for them to cherish. Excellent as always Beth.
Thanks Kris.

Brief. Nail. Head.

Excellent work Bethy. Lasting memories and real emotion conveyed.
Thanks mister. :)

Lively emotional set.
Thank you for your feedback. :)

I am lost for words at these pictures, so excuse these three - They are, for me, the only ones I actually feel sum your work up, given the underlying nature of what the shoot represents -

Sensitivity, Poignancy and Dignity.

Thank you for sharing.

Steve
Thanks much, Steve.

Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments. I really do appreciate everything you have to say. :)
 
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sunnyside_up

sunnyside_up

<span class="poty">POTY (Joint) 2016</span>
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Bethy
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#26
Robert passed away this morning, after his family told him it was ok for him to go after holding on a lot longer than anyone thought he would. Just thought I'd post the update.

Thanks for everyone's comments above.
 
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Steve
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#29
Robert passed away this morning, after his family told him it was ok for him to go after holding on a lot longer than anyone thought he would. Just thought I'd post the update.

Thanks for everyone's comments above.
You created something very special for his family which captured the moment and with a blessed dignity. I felt it a privelige to have seen that point in time of his life and, whatever his creed my thoughts are 'Godspeed' to him and condolences to his family.
 
Last edited:
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Charles
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#30
Good photos. I do hope you have had his permission (and his wife's) to publish them and tell us his medical history. A bit too unprofessional for my liking.
 
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Christopher
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#31
Good photos. I do hope you have had his permission (and his wife's) to publish them and tell us his medical history. A bit too unprofessional for my liking.
I am a cancer survivor, so far, and should it have gone the other way I would have liked to think that my family were left with such a wonderful set of photographs to remember me by. I would also have been happy for them to be shared in the way that these have been if only to show what a skilled photographer, who can and does empathise with their subjects, can produce. I suspect that a photographer who put professionalism above empathy would not have produced the same results
 
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Charles
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#33
I am a cancer survivor, so far, and should it have gone the other way I would have liked to think that my family were left with such a wonderful set of photographs to remember me by. I would also have been happy for them to be shared in the way that these have been if only to show what a skilled photographer, who can and does empathise with their subjects, can produce. I suspect that a photographer who put professionalism above empathy would not have produced the same results
Then judge the photos without the story. Also it appears that Robert and Carol were paying customers, if they wanted their photos published I have no problem.

Mooo.
 
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John
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#34
RIP Robert. Lovely heartfelt photos.

Sadly, it looks as though I'll be doing something similar in the next few weeks with my father-in-law. Horrible b*stard illness :(
 
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