94 years: anatomy of an image.

People often ask how the image 94 Years came to be.  Simply put, it was an unplanned image that evolved quite naturally.

I was trying to photograph my 94-year-old grandmother, whom I’d been visiting and who was sitting on a couch near the window.

This was the scene:

I had always been interested in her hands, and the story they tell.  I realized that in my “mind’s eye” it was the hands I was interested in here too, and their positioning as they cradled her head.

So, I decided to shift my position – the beautiful constraint of using fixed focal length lenses is that they force you to compose in different ways – and take the photo from above.

The “inspired” composition was arrived at accidentally when she shifted the way she was holding her head.  In the interim, I had increased the shutter speed to avoid blowing out the highlights in the hair and on the hand nearest to the window.  This created a surrounding darkness – a natural vignette – as the details in the dark clothing were masked:

I then cropped the image to, once again, emphasize her hands:

At this point, I had the composition I wanted and I knew that any subsequent post-processing was an opportunity to either enhance or ruin the image.

Following some selective contrast, levels, and progressive vignetting adjustments, I arrived at the final image:

94 Yrs

In looking at this a few years later, I realize that I may have been a little heavy-handed with the post-processing.  But, the image stands as the image was: 94 Years.

I hope this was of interest.

- Peter

4 thoughts on “94 years: anatomy of an image.

  1. hughf says:

    Dear Peter,
    exceptionnel Woman…For a really great explication on your Picture !
    I remember this image from You ! With a lot of very good memories…
    Thanks to sharing with Us.

    My Best REgards,

    Hugues.

  2. scotwilce says:

    Dear Peter,
    You bring me back to my grandmother and her age and beauty at 90+. Such fond memories for me. I think your final image is fabulous…just the right adjustments to bring the focus to her hands. You have a unique talent. I’m lucky to have found you’re blog via Steve Huff’s website. I’m sure I’ll be a regular visitor!

    • Prosophos says:

      Thanks Scot. My grandmother is very dear to me and I’m happy to how our her in any way I can. Thanks also for visiting the site, in addition to the nice comment.

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