This post was written by Bruce Roscoe of Aiyana Studio Photography.
I was very pleased to receive a call from Highgate Senior Living Center in Prescott Arizona. The Executive Director of the facility asked me to photograph their only centurion, Glenn Bowersox. It's not often you are honored to capture the life of a man that was born before World War one, and lived at the time our 27th president William H. Taft was in office. Mr. Bowersox has had a very interesting life. After talking with him, I found his brother was in the First World War as an officer. He met his wife in Wematchee, WA where he was born. They dated for five years before they married in 1939. Mrs. Bowersox passed away two years ago after being married for 71 years. Mr. Bowersox worked for the Department of Interior and spent many of his years working in Alaska. Throughout their life they did a lot of traveling, even while raising two daughters. Mr. Bowersox had a cousin that was the third governor of Alaska. Glenn, as he likes to be called still goes on the Internet to find things, and spends 35 minutes everyday working out in the gym.
I don't believe you can do justice in capturing an image of an elder person without taking the time to learn something about their life, to dig into whom they are under that time worn outer coating. If you look deep into this capture you can almost feel his life through this image.
We use a make-up artist on our elder folks for two reasons. One it brings back the youth they once shared, and two they have pride in themselves again, which also gives their image more life. We do not try to bring them back to a younger time in their life by enhancing the image in Photoshop using tools that will take away the character it took a lifetime to build.
How this was captured
This is a four light setup. Four feet from the background I placed a mono-light set at f5.6 more in the direction his face is turned. For a key light you can use an Apollo Mini set at f8. Since Mr. Bowersox is bold to cut the glare and highlight from falling on his head I took the 2 stop diffuser from the 6 & 1 reflector kit and cut the key light in half by using it as a cutter. To get under detail under the book I used a strip light set at F4.5. To finish the lighting on this image we used the silver reflector from the 6 & 1 reflector kit. It sounds simple enough just make sure you have the catch lights in his eyes and be careful with how you pose the hands. The book I used in this capture is fairly heavy and can't be held up very long by many people, especially a centurion.