At the 11th hour, just before Christmas 2012, I was asked to photograph at d’Arcy’s 70th birthday. It almost didn’t go ahead because d’Arcy was reluctant to be photographed, maybe he also thought, what’s all the fuss about?…Even though Christmas was just around the corner, everyone came that day to celebrate his 70th birthday from interstate. They had a fancy lunch planned, and an hour to have some photographs taken beforehand. It seemed that tradition was the order of the day – we had lots of bodies, and only an hour, so I knew they would love to see pictures of them all together, and in various combinations.
It was a blistering hot morning, even at just 10:30am with the brightest of bright sunny days. When photographing people the first two things I do is look for the right setting to serve as the backdrop, and then the right lighting, so no direct sun. Their backyard had some great greenery and beautiful light filtering through.
I began with the large group.
It took a little time to get the right balance and feeling.
After all, this doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, it has to be right.
The next group I wanted to do was the grandparents and all the children.
Everybody hadn’t seen each other for quite a while.
There was all that family goodness to capture.
I only had an hour, but I thought, yes, let’s do it!
I’ll give them what they expect, and I’ll also capture for them all the magic that I see too.
I just love this one, below right, of d’Arcy.
He looks genuinely happy.
A far cry from the doubtful and slightly nervous man that met me at the door!
With family photography I like to capture the real personalities and connections.
Looking through this image, it seems that something is happening.
There is a story here, that they will know everytime they look at this.
d’Arcy and Janette very tragically lost their son Mark several years ago.
So I thought it was important to capture them with their other son Hugh.
That tree was just perfect and I love that dappled light.
I really felt it would be so nice for them to have a beautiful capture or two of each of the children.
Teenage life tends to get a bit overlooked when it comes to photography.
But I think that’s a really special time in a person’s life.
How gorgeous is this creature?!
When I met with Janette and d’Arcy afterwards to show them what I’d created, they loved it all.
All of the grandchildren had each written a poem to d’Arcy.
They printed out a couple and brought them along for me to read.
The whole occasion was just so special and the poems really accentuated that.
So I’d like to publish them here.
Grimps you get older every second of every day but everyone still loves you
Happy 70th birthday have a great and memorable day
Anyway enjoy being 70 because it won’t last forever.
Your great because you are funny and you cook good bacon for breakfast and your hair is funny.
Lots of love Molly
This is Eliott…
Grimps is great because he has lots of all the pets he has
You are funny
You play lots of sport
You sneak up – go rabbit – dog- cat
This is Oliver…
Happy 70th Grimps
Your getting a bit old but I still love you
Your funny all the time so I still love you
You give me many things but I still love you
You help me with many things that’s why I love you.
Love from Oliver
This is Lachlan…
Grimps is a jewel precious and rare,
Loved and respected and treated with care,
Grimps reveals facts in good times and strife,
Compassion, strength and humour fashioned for life,
Grimps sparkles like a diamond or quietly glows,
His love and compansionship on us he bestows,
Grimps is a jewel of priceless design strong as a rock
And constant as time.
This is Emma…
As you can see this poem is a botch
But you know it will read better with a little bit of Scotch
As you say a good cat is a dead cat
as you have probably hit with a bat
as you love grannies cakes
and ironically you can’t bake
as your impatience grows
so do your foes
as billy goat racing becomes a sport
and you considered drinking the port
as all the memories were from the back yard
and now you have a dog as a guard
as the poems all end
I’ll always be your friend
This is Sam…
Grimps I want to let you know
You mean the world to me
All the things you taught me
How to play football
Teaching me how to fish
Getting “A’s” in most projects
Just going down to Bunnings
You have been awesome to me
Looking back on the past 11 years
You have been there for me
Every step of the way
So happy 70th birthday Grimps
On your special day
This is Chloe…
I remember when I first met you Grimps
Well actually I don’t as you see I was a small
baby and you we a tall bloke
You’re such a kind grandfather, lovely and thoughtful
you see, and I look back over the years
and see how much you have done for me
Like doing all my assignments and teaching me
how to ride and trying to hit every cyclist
that’s on the road as well.
You’re a funny grandfather, smart and tall
I remember you teaching me how to play
canasta oh wasn’t that just a ball!
It’s time for this poem to end now
so what I am trying to say is happy
70th Grimps on your special day
Happy Birthday Grimps
d’Arcy and Janette’s good friend Sue gave them this amazing tree.
She has since passed away but the tree serves as a wonderful reminder of her.
But that’s not all folks! d’Arcy and Janette decided to buy a slideshow with all the images on it. Once I had these poems in my hot little hand I couldn’t resist embellishing the slideshow with some of the beautiful words the children had written.
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d’Arcy’s 70th birthday was a very special occasion indeed, and was a brilliant opportunity to really celebrate not only him, but his family too. Quite an achievement. Happy birthday d’Arcy!!
Here’s what they had to say. I love lovely comments and feedback!!!
Beth, we were thrilled with your endeavours, your work is magic and you have captured our family so well. We can’t thank you enough. Such a lovely record for d’Arcy’s 70th. Thank you so much. d’Arcy and Janette
Beth, you’re a true magician. The collection you put together for Mum and Dad is just magic. You have a very special talent. Keep up the great work. Hugh (d’Arcy and Janette’s son)