Caledon area photographers donate a moment in time

  • Photo Shoot

Caledon Enterprise
By Terra Ciolfe

They are stuck on the fridge, perched on the coffee table, hung on the wall, stuffed in a wallet and pinned up on the cork-board at work.

They are a screen saver, a computer’s desktop, on a phone or filed away in a computer.

They are photographs, and nowadays people have thousands of them.

And while having plenty of point-and-shoot photos is one thing, having a well crafted, professionally composed family portrait is something completely different – and something not everyone can afford.

“[In a fire], it’s the first thing that a family wants to save,” said local photographer and real estate agent Roger Irwin referring to a cherished family portrait or hard copies of old family photographs.

It’s for that reason, Irwin, along with the help of another local photographer, Pete Paterson, are volunteering their time “and expertise” to photograph families in the area that otherwise might not have the chance.

“[There’s] something about having a well-posed, well-thought out photo as opposed to something from a point and shoot,” said Paterson, who has taken photos of such notable figures as David Suzuki and Mordecai Richler.

In partnership with Caledon Community Services (CCS), the two will shoot portraits of local families in need this weekend in Caledon. But, it’s not just for Christmas; the two will continue the project throughout the rest of the year – until every willing family through CCS has their own family portrait.

“You want them looking at their best, and not all point and shoot [photos] are at their best,” echoed Irwin, who has a special affinity toward printed photographs from the days when his mother would bring out old family photos.

At the end of each session, the family will leave with a printed 11 by 14 inch framed photograph to do with what they please.

“These families can have a printed record of that moment in time,” said Irwin. “You can’t go back and reshoot that.”

Irwin initially got the idea for the project after getting requests from several people asking for copies of photos he had taken of them.

He would snap casual photos of friends; bring his camera with him to the nursing home that he volunteered at with his therapy dog, Dixie, and take photos of the residents for fun.

Whether the requests were from friends that he took informal portraits of or from the families of the residents at the seniors home, he found himself wondering: “How many people are there out there who don’t have portraits of their family who can’t afford them,” he recollected.

He initially put the idea off for a while, trying to figure out the details; the timing, location, how many families involved, etc.

But as the idea travelled through the community grape vine, all the details began to fall into place.

Irwin was put in contact with Michelle Stubbs, the director of community resources for CCS, who will organize the families and the timing, as well as Paterson, who volunteered his time and his studio with all the necessary equipment.

The only things left to figure out is who will donate all the frames to give to the families as well.

“Once they have that in their hand… I think it will be appreciated,” said Paterson. “It’s not because we’re great or we’re wonderful or anything else, it’s just that we can do it because we know how …  and we’re willing to do it.”

Anyone interested in donating frames for the family portraits, can call Irwin at (416) 819-6150.

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