I love people with passion, whether it’s for their job, a hobby, volunteer work, or whatever. People who love what they do intrigue me.
Since starting my photography business six years ago, I’ve been even more attracted to people who run their own business. I know how hard it is, how it can take over your life, and how much it can mean to you.
Documenting people and relationships through photography is a passion of mine. Most of the past six years has been spent documenting romantic relationships, as well as family and friends at weddings. People’s relationships with their passions are just as interesting and I wanted to celebrate that.
I put out a model call looking for artists, entrepreneurs, or athletes – the type of people who put everything they have into their passions, no matter how risky.
Rebecca Jones was one of the small business owners who answered my call. She runs her own company, Mrs. Jones’ Jams, making jams, jellies, and marmalades and selling them wholesale, online, and at markets.
I wanted to approach this session in a fully documentary way, rather than through the standard environmental portrait. This way, I could avoid the need to pose and actually get to witness my subject at work. I asked Rebecca what she wanted documented and she suggested I take photos while she labelled some jam jars at her home and made a batch of raspberry jam in the commercial kitchen she shares with an ice cream maker.
I ended up spending about two and a half hours with her and learned a lot about jam making in the process.
Lighting can be a challenge with documentary sessions, but the commercial kitchen was surprisingly well lit. Her dining room, where she labels her jam, was rather dark with just window light, so she turned on the overhead tungsten lighting. I tend to turn off tungsten lights when there’s window light, to get better white balance overall, but sometimes your subjects need more light to work by. I tried to edit these in a way that minimized the impact of the mixed lighting. You could, of course, use flash to fix lighting issues, but I find flash too distracting for most documentary sessions.
My approach to documentary shoots is to have the subject come up with some activities ahead of time and then just let people do their thing, while I photograph it in as many ways possible. I like to switch my lenses up, shoot through/behind things, get close to my subject, get some wide shots, shoot from high/middle/low angles, and move around the room a lot. I never really know what photos I’m going to like best until I’m going through them after. Sometimes I try out things I think might not work and I’m often right, but sometimes they surprise me.
I tend to chat with my subjects while shooting them, which gets them smiling maybe a bit more than if they were just stirring a pot of jam by themselves. That’s surely not proper photojournalism, but I like to bring out the best in my subjects when I can.
My favourite photo from this session is of Rebecca stirring a pot of jam, while looking away and smiling. I believe she was talking to the man who shares the kitchen with her, but a lot of people think this shot is posed. I think it shows off her warm and friendly nature in a way that a posed shot might not.
Writing and photography contributed by Lara Eichorn.
About Lara Eichhorn:
I’m a documentary photographer, focusing on weddings, personal events, and the day to day lives of happy couples and families. I’m based in Victoria, BC, but I’m willing to travel for clients who click with my work.
I especially love shooting on the gulf islands (Galiano, Pender, Salt Spring), Vancouver Island (Tofino, Nanaimo, Duncan), and in the Okanagan (Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon, Osoyoos, Penticton). Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest