Several weeks ago while scanning the obituaries which I tend to do from time to time. While glancing over the obituaries one photograph in particular caught my attention and made me take a second look. Being the photographer that I am I have always been drawn to portraits that have beautiful lighting, seeing as lighting is one of the first aspects any photographer notices in any portrait. The obituary that had caught my attention showed a black and white portrait of a man that I knew all too well, David McNaughton.
David McNaughton was a previous client of mine who shared the same adoration and respect for black and white portraits. Over the years I had been fortunate enough to help David and his loving wife Elsie capture special and timeless memories of their family. I was honoured to be able to provide this lovely couple with portraits that they could enjoy as their family grew and aged. On one of the sessions of his son and granddaughter I remember talking about black and white portraits and why we both loved them so much. I didn’t put much thought into it until later when David contacted me to come in and discuss his and Elsie’s newest portrait they wanted to have created.
As we sat in the studio and discussed the portrait and I asked all the questions I usually ask in order to find out why did they want to do this portrait now and how they intend to use the portrait. Through our discussion we got on the topic of portraits when they will no longer be with us, so David and Elsie wanted a portrait of the two of them so their family can always remember them. I know this is not a subject that most like to talk about and I admit when I first started on my journey as a professional portrait artist I found this a difficult conversation to have. But as I spoke to more people and they conveyed how much it meant to them and their families I began to find it easier to talk about and eventually I understood how important this portrait is to them and their families.
Elsie was not well at the time and it was probably not the most confortable portrait for her because of her illness, but they assured me that they wanted to have this done for the family. We talked about how they wanted a portrait that was investment worthy and would last for multiple generations and it was decided that we would proceed with our signature series portrait finish. David and I talked about the other photographers we both admired, Ansell Adams for his beautiful black and white landscape photos, and one of my favorite portrait artist that I have studied and admired for many years, Yousuf Karsh one of the masters of the 20th century.
It was decided that we would do a portrait of the couple together for their home and as gifts for the family. We also did individual portraits of each of them so when the time came they would have a proper portrait for the visitation and the newspaper. And it was this portrait in the paper that I noticed and I am so honored to have been able to be a part of it. I hope the family finds as much joy and comfort in David’s portrait as I do. Rest in peace David, I am glad to have known you and was able to share a love of black and white photography.