So the classic Christmas gift question: What do you get for the woman who has everything — and everyone — she needs?
Answer: Memories, of course. Or lots of scratch tickets.
My good friend Fran (who happens to be Rita’s oldest son) had the former in mind when he called me early in December to hire me to photograph the three houses Rita lived in as a child. He gave me the three addresses (all, conveniently within a mile radius of one another in nearby Lowell, MA) and left the presentation to me.
Having been friends with the family for more than half my life, I didn’t take the project lightly. I wanted Fran to be happy with the work and for Rita to love the gift.
I shot all three images within an hour on a Friday morning. I specifically picked a weekday to minimize the chances of cars being parked in front, but I was not above knocking on doors and asking people to move their cars if it came to that. Luckily, it didn’t. I shot them with the 24mm PC-E lens, shifting the lens for accurate perspective. Then the fun began.
It was Fran’s call to go B&W on these (good call) but I wanted to give them more of a vintage feel. I processed the images individually in onOne Software’s Perfect B&W and used the “Over the Baril” (a wet plate effect/ode to Tom Baril) filter in “20th Century Classic Silver” preset collection, adjusting the settings to taste. Then I combined the images in Photoshop and brought them into onOne’s Perfect Effects 4, where I applied some texture and border effects. The final image printed on a 15×8 aluminum panel.
I’m happy to report that the gift was well received. Rita’s happiness was evident (see below). She even put aside the scratch tickets for a few minutes. Merry Christmas, Rita.