While I was in Ohio photographing families and couples, I spent as much time as I could with my grandparents. I hadn't seen them in over a year and a half, and I've missed them so very much.
Each day, we did the same things...grabbed a bite to eat at one of their several usual places (the waitresses no longer bring them a menu - they order the same thing each time), we played many hands of Rummy, and we watched several episodes of Gunsmoke. You haven't lived until you've watched Gunsmoke with my grandparents. I especially love how my grandma talks to the characters - tells the bad guys the sheriff will get 'em, tells the good guys "Atta boy!" and wonders aloud how the heck the only good looking girl in town (aka the sheriff's girlfriend) always has nice hair in that dusty town.
This year, my grandparents both turn 88 years old. And this month marks my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary. 65 years! I just knew I had to take their picture while I was home. While they agreed, this was no simple task.
It was a hot spring day. The sun was harsh and bright. I tried my best to find a few options that worked for them...outside, on stable ground, in the shade, somewhere super close by so they didn't have to walk far... I wanted a location that was as beautiful as they are. I absolutely loved the blossoming tree in their front yard, but because they would have to try to walk and stand on the lumpy grass, that wouldn't work. The best I could do was their sunny front porch, and I would have to position them close to the house because the sunlight was super harsh on the porch railing. I knew that by pushing them to the back of the porch, my grandma's lack of height (she's 4'11 these days) would be a challenge with the railing. But I would have to make it work.
I got my grandparents from inside the house, positioned them on the porch and went onto the lawn to quickly adjust my camera settings and do a few test shots, during which they smiled. I told them I was ready, and my grandpa told me, "You have one minute."
One minute?! Oh, boy. He didn't realize he upped the stakes, but it was a challenge I accepted.
During my one minute of photographing my grandparents, we started out with them looking straight at the camera, which was how their generation is used to posing for pictures. But I wanted to capture their 65 years of love. During the remaining 45 seconds, I quickly explained to them I was going to ask them to do a few things they'd never done during a photo session. I asked them to hold hands, look at each other and smile, during which my grandparents snickered at and made eyes at each other. Then I asked them to give each other a kiss. And that was it...the minute was up.
I assisted them back inside the house, and when they sat down, they both let out a big, "Whew!" Then it was back to watching Gunsmoke.
When I reviewed the shots I had taken, I got teary-eyed. There in my camera were my amazing grandparents...and their 65 years of love. Whether or not anyone else likes these images doesn't matter to me. I am in love with what I've captured, and I will cherish this one very special minute with my grandparents for the rest of my life.