Master Class
Where Strangers Become Friends; The Impact Of Photography Page 2

Finally, of course, I just had to photograph the three of them together. I could the emotion between them. I needed to bring it out in my photograph. Instead of having them look at the camera I posed them involved with each other. The final touch was the linking together of them with their hands and arms.

This was the key to the whole picture. When I looked at what the other photographers had shot I noticed that they had cropped the picture to just their faces. "No!" I shouted. "You missed the whole picture! It was the bond between them that was the key to the portrait! Look at their hands, their arms--that's what's making this picture!" They learned a big lesson then and there.

When we all met at breakfast I realized that there was still another member of the group. She was the daughter of one of the three sisters. You just know that I had to photograph her with her mother. Instead of leaving the mother seated and bringing over her daughter I seated the daughter and stood her mother, enabling her to put her arm around her daughter. The mother's arm around the daughter was the whole picture!

With tears in her eyes, the daughter came to me afterward and told me that her mother's health was rapidly declining. "You have no idea," she told me, "how much this picture means to me! And you have no idea how much these pictures of the three sisters means to them and to all their friends and relatives!"

I told her, "I think I have an idea about that!" I knew when I decided to photograph them.

Afterward, Donna told me about her own daughter and grandchildren. I invited them all to come to our class and be our models later in the day. Thankfully, they did come and we had quite a time with them.

I began by photographing each of them by window light.

The youngest of them wasn't too excited about posing for us. To get her into the fun of things I began by posing her mother with her grandmother. The setup was simply my two Westcott Spiderlites and a reflector.

Then, I added her sisters and tried to get the youngest to join in. She still wasn't really too excited about posing for the picture, but she didn't want to be left out of all the fun. I did get her to join in for one shot. That's all that I needed.

All in all, it was a fun day from beginning to end. The week didn't start out too well but as the week progressed I got better to really appreciate how good life can be, especially since I was hosted by such great people as Nelson and Donna Lawrence at their bed and breakfast, Lawrence Manor (

The byline of their bed and breakfast is "Where strangers become friends." It certainly held true for me and their other houseguests that week. I'll never forget the impact our photographs left on those sisters and their families.

No more strangers. Forever friends. How fortunate we are to love our work so much.

In last month's Master Class column, we incorrectly listed the website for Superlite Custom Backdrops. The correct website is