March 21, 2020
Virtual Family Photo Project

virtual family photo project social distancing

Artist Statement

Virtual Family Photo Project

Photographer John Dolan says, “Photographing is about me absorbing what I feel in this time and space.” That is the true stamp of a photographer on their work.

virtual family photo project social distancing Right now, I am not able to see my clients in person, but in some ways we are feeling the same experience. And I can glimpse into their homes in this moment in time with today’s technology. 

virtual family photo project social distancing Because each family already has cameras inside their house, I can achieve my stamp remotely. Similar to the way I have captured successful images using plastic toy film cameras, some of which do not have a viewfinder, I can utilize basic input on composition and angle of light, and focus primarily upon timing. 

virtual family photo project social distancing

Improvisation and Orchestration

Observing jazz musicians, I learned that decisive moments don’t come from nowhere, there is a preceding swell, a clear sense that something is building. My timing is based on feeling for that swell, and pressing the shutter in perfect time as it crests. 

As a film student, I learned to direct how I wanted the shot composed without being in control of the camera myself. In the same way, I can direct a family to set up our shots, and then use screenshotting as my shutter.

virtual family photo project social distancing


virtual family photo project social distancing


From there, my workflow will remain the same. I will optimize the images for color and balance, decide if something is more compelling in black and white, or whether the color should pop more, and adjusting compositions with crops, if needed. I aim to optimize the image’s potential, the same way I would hone a print from a negative in the darkroom, and at the same time embrace its flaws, perhaps even drawing them out if it enhances the feeling conveyed in the image.

virtual family photo project social distancing

Imperfections in the final image quality will accurately reflect the physical distance between myself and my subjects, like static on radio signal at the edge of its range. It is simultaneously of the time in that we can capture images remotely, and timeless in that technology isn’t a perfect substitute for physical presence.

My clients will have the opportunity to create beautiful printed pieces in their online gift shop. I encourage taking advantage of this as another project people can do from home. And, my perspective as an artist is that the project is not fully complete until the digital work has been output into something tangible – where the virtual experience becomes part of physical reality.

virtual family photo project social distancing Looking to the Future

A photographer’s work occurs in the present, and immediately depicts the past. But I feel my job as a photographer is to look to the future. To know that someday you will be looking back on today – you will be a different person, your kids will be growing, and then grown. It’s hard to imagine now, but at some point today will be a very distant memory, and it will fascinate you to look back at how it felt and remember. These images will portray an occasion that is truly once in a lifetime, a personalized newspaper clipping your children can show to their children. The medium itself provides an accurate reflection of the current technology available to create them, which today we take for granted.

virtual family photo project social distancing Plus, I will engage with kids how I usually do. It should be fun family activity, perhaps less stressful without having to arrive at a location after sitting in traffic, or making your house perfectly spotless. 

In alignment with my commitment to think of the future, every purchase my clients make plants a tree through One Tree Planted.

virtual family photo project social distancing Book a Spot in the Virtual Family Photo Project

If you’d like to book an appointment in this project, click here to view the offering and availability. If you know a family who loves art, please share! I can do Virtual Family Photos for families everywhere.

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