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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-3.be110857376e1c1dc5afaa178864837f.jpeg

Life Celebrations: Documenting The Photographic Wisdom Of Our Elders

With a focus on a simple concept, consistent lighting and lens perspective, Angela Perez brought the dream of creating her Life Celebrations project to reality. Perez wanted viewers to focus on each subject and their personal story. As she says, “Ultimately, I wanted to make Life Celebrations less about me and my needs and more about making each person feel amazing during the process and showing the world how special each one of them is.” Click through all of the images and their stories in this slideshow and read Perez’s full story of the project below.

Jennings Ford photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Jennings Ford photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Teresa Patterson photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Teresa Patterson photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Thirl Hupp photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Thirl Hupp photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Barbara Bale photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Barbara Bale photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

JW Newland photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

JW Newland photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Nereida Nieves photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Nereida Nieves photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Horacio Navarrette photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Horacio Navarrette photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Ruth Mendoza photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Ruth Mendoza photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Mercedes Arroyo photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Mercedes Arroyo photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Roberto Arroyo photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

Roberto Arroyo photographed by Alpha Female+ grant winner Angela Perez for the Life Celebrations Project. Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM

The Life Celebrations: Documenting the Photographic Wisdom of Our Elders project was made possible through a Sony Alpha Female+ grant, and the inspiration came from being around a group of senior citizens. Their energy was inspiring and captivating and it was clearly obvious that they still had much wisdom, knowledge and inspiration to give. I felt like their stories needed to be told and I wanted to be their voice. Even if it's just through a simple photograph, I felt that we need to embrace our wrinkles and our age as the years made us who we are today. (Note: Angela will join us @sonyalphafemale for an Instagram Live on Wednesday at 9am PT/noon ET. You can ask us anything about Angela’s project, the Alpha Female community and the Sony Alpha Female+ grant program.)

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-2.jpeg

I wanted to keep the concept simple. I wanted the viewers' focus to be on each subject and their personal story. Everyone shared the same studio setting so that each individual personality could shine through. Everyone wore their own wardrobe which helped me further showcase each person’s individuality by having them wear something they were comfortable in. I had a makeup and hair stylist on set to make everyone who took part in the project feel pampered. Ultimately, I wanted to make Life Celebrations less about me and my needs and more about making each person feel amazing during the process and show the world how special each one of them is.

Creating The Look With Lighting & Lens Perspective

I created the mood for the images with a combination of lighting and lens perspective. For the lighting I used two monolights, one had a 60-inch overhead umbrella with a diffusion panel and the other had a 36-inch gridded soft box. I also added two white v-flats on each side for fill to help soften the shadows on the subjects.

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-7.jpeg

For the camera gear, I kept it simple. I used a Sony Alpha 7 III with a Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lens. The exposure settings and focal lengths were kept consistent from shot to shot to unify the images. The settings were f/2.8, 1/125-sec., ISO 100 and all the images were shot between 150mm and 200mm. I was shooting at a longer focal length to create compression and to isolate the subjects from the backgrounds.

Gaining The Confidence & Inspiration To Continue From Here

Winning the Sony Alpha Female+ grant made this project happen and it’s also given me the confidence to continue the project beyond these initial portraits. The experience has really inspired me to continue to try to find more older people to add new stories and make Life Celebrations into a larger project. I started with 10 people and now I want capture 50 or even 100 stories and to venture beyond my local community. Who knows? The sky is the limit at this point. Having someone believe in the project has really given me the inspiration to believe that it’s worth pursuing. This is only the beginning!

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-4.jpeg

Overcoming The Challenges

There were some real challenges I had to overcome to make Life Celebrations happen. I was working within a tight timeframe and it was somewhat difficult finding people who were trusting of my intentions and willing to pose for the project. Especially in this time of the COVID pandemic, many of the people I asked had concerns and also a lot of them seemed somewhat shocked that someone actually was interested in capturing portraits of them. Also because I was on a tight deadline, I chose to work within my local community.

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-1.jpeg

Stories That Resonate

My favorite image is Jennings Ford. His story about life being too short to not take photos of what you are passionate about resonated with me the most and I’m sure it will resonate with many other photographers as well. You might be putting that off for now while you are young because you feel you have all the time in the world, but eventually you will wish that you shot more of what made you happy versus what other people expected you to shoot. Jennings has been passionate about photography for 70 years. That’s longer than most of us have been alive and unfortunately he is now going blind which is every photographer's worst nightmare, but Jennings is making the most of it by trying to shoot as much as he can before he can no longer take any more photos.

There is no specific order in which the images should be showcased, but I did format my project in a book format because I am hoping that eventually I will have enough stories to make this project into an actual book. Each photo and page tells the person’s own story and they can all be shown individually or as a group.

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Angela-Perez-Alpha-Female-Grant-Winner-Page-9.jpeg

In The Studio

I really enjoyed working with the Sony Alpha 7 III and the Sony 70-200mm G Master lens. The system was a breeze to get accustomed to. I had been concerned about learning a new system, but turned out to be very easy to make the transition and it felt very natural to hold the Sony camera in my hands.

I am mostly a prime shooter so working with a zoom lens is always interesting for me because I keep forgetting that I have the zoom capability to zoom. I was frequently walking back and forth on the set as though I had a prime lens and I was ‘zooming in with my feet.’ My old habits are hard to get rid of, but the more I used the 70-200mm GM, the more natural it became. The Sony Alpha 7 III images were super sharp and the quality of the files the lens produced were great and all the images were really easy to color grade and edit in the post-production phase.

Overall, it was a great experience to create Life Celebrations with the support of Sony. I am very thankful to the Sony Alpha Female team for believing in me and giving me and other creators a platform were we can have our voices heard and for giving us a place where our talents can shine.

You can be a part of our Alpha Female community. Join our Facebook group HERE and follow us on Instagram HERE.

You can apply for an Alpha Female+ grant HERE along with all of the details of the Alpha Female+ program. You can see all the past grant winners and their projects HERE.

 

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