First off all I need to say that I’m a happily married man and I love my wife. There, done.
This is a picture of one of my college girlfriends. I hadn’t seen her for years when we both showed up at a reunion of old friends.
She’d had a heartbreaking last ten years and wanted to move on with her life. She asked me if I would take a picture of her for a dating service she was considering. I was touched that she’d asked and was happy to help. It was a simple assignment but I gave it everything I had.
I knew all the right stuff to do. The reunion was at a suburban park so we went to the soft light of a covered picnic shelter; it’s light that flatters everyone. I used a large f-stop (f2) and a 50 mm lens a to keep the depth-of-field extremely shallow and put the emphasis on her eyes. I got close—not that close— and filled the frame with her face so the viewer could see what she looked like. There was to be nothing deceptive or manipulative about this picture. This was for a dating service; it needed to be honest and straight forward. I wanted to help Jan find a guy that was honest and straight forward; she did. If you knew Jan you would know that she didn’t need much help. I just wanted to clear any rubbish out of her way.
Isn’t it a gift to help people we care about with our cameras? The idea of scrounging up a good photograph for a dating service sounded so deplorable to me that I actually fell to my knees and thanked God I was married—and that was shortly after a seriously minor disagreement with my wife. It was really gratifying to eliminate what could have been a deplorable cultural ritual from a wonderful and, hopefully you, Mr. Right, will think, beautiful woman’s life.