Last week I was assigned to make some images of a woman who had been given a notice of eviction from a local housing authority. She was living with her elderly mother and needed to be in the apartment for six months. If the mother died inside the six months she would have to leave. Well as luck would have it her mom died after only three months. So she was given the eviction notice.
These assignments are always tricky. You don’t know what you are going to run into. So I was a little apprehensive. The woman was very nice but pretty depressed as you can imagine. I was treading lightly to say the least. I sat down and talked with her a little to try and get her take on things. I had my Canon 5D MK3 with the 24-70 f4L with me and decided that I needed a little light since it was pretty dark in the little apartment. My first shots were with this setup and the Canon 430 EX2 Speedlight and and off-camera shoe cord and a bounce dome on top. The resulting photo was ok but did not give me the feeling I wanted.
The image is well lit and nice and warm and she has an interesting look on her face. But I was really looking for something better. I had the Leica M-P 240 with the Leica 50mm Summilux with me and decided it was time for the smaller less intrusive camera. She opened up a bit more and started to talk with me more as I started to shoot. I was shooting at ISO 800 and 1/90s at 1.4 and the images started to get better. A little cooler but much better.
Still kind of posed but a bit better. I had long since got rid of the speedlight as it was adding to much light.
As she started to talk with me as I was shooting, she started to forget about me and started to think about her circumstances which resulted in the photo above.
Finally she just sat and stared out the window giving me the shot I was looking for. I was not there, she was thinking about her mother who was not yet buried. For me the Leica made all the difference. Small and unobtrusive. For me an unforgettable experience. I hope she finds a place to live. Prayers!