Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sicilian Reunion

I am not an event photographer. Today I shot at an event thanks to Debi Beauregard. I had been approached by Robert Lowery to either shoot the event or to recommend someone that could. Because Debi does a lot of event photograph I recommended her—she got me to agree to go along. I do enjoy shooting photographs of people but I am not good at capturing the event with my photographs.

There were four hundred very friendly, very fun loving Sicilians. A gentleman in Houston, Robert Lowery the organizer of this event, was doing genealogical research. Some years ago he published his research. Others read the book and approached the author. As a result they have built a community, all descendents from the 3000 people that lived in the same small town in Sicily. This is simply a yearly get together to socialize. They claim that they are all at most forth cousins. They loved sharing their stories. To the best of my knowledge I have only known one Italian so it was great to hang out with this group. Best of all they loved having their photograph taken. I hope they are pleased with the photograph because I would love to be asked to do it again next year--maybe even set up a studio where we could do a better job with the family groups.

In the 1890’s there was a large number of people from this small town that immigrated to North America. They settled in the area around Bryan, Texas. All of the people at the gathering are descended from this group. I do not know how scattered they currently are but I did met one man from St Louis, Mo, so they are not all located in Houston or even in Texas. There were lots of old people and I tend to enjoy shooting the elderly. There were a few thirty something and younger. And a small number of children. My experience with genealogy is that you really don’t get interested in it until you are older and that was pretty much borne out in the ages represented.

Along one side of the room they had set up tables to display large panels that contained family trees, photographs and other artifacts of the family history. That was the area that I most enjoyed shooting. 

Debi got some great shots as usual. I am a little disappointed in most of what I did. Sure glad that I explained to the organizer that I was not an event photographer. I did play with limited depth of field which is the way I prefer to photograph people. I doubted that what they wanted was artsy fartsy so I did a limited number. I always fumble with my camera settings in this type of situation—as I did today; so I tried a variety of settings both with and without flash.

Overall Shot of the Gathering

Reading the Family Histories

This lady had lost her sister this past year. Here her nieces are sharing photographs they have of the two sisters together.
This is Robert Lowery, the author and organizer of the group.

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