Gordon LaFleur needs models.
In particular, the Parksville-based photographer is asking for mothers and daughters to come together and lend their faces for his annual Tribute to Mothers and Daughters exhibit.
“It’s the most fun thing I do all year,” he said.
LaFleur started the annual project 17 years ago as a way to look into the “unique” relationships between mothers and daughters.
“It’s a fun opportunity to explore that dynamic,” he said. “It’s an affirmation and a celebration of that bond.”
Over the years, LaFleur has photographed a lot of women for the exhibit. He said he’s had everyone from a four day old baby to women who are over 100 years old in front of his camera. He’s also watched families grow and multiple generations gather in one room.
He’s also captured a number of different dynamics within the different families.
“My job is to create an atmosphere where genuine emotions are being expressed,” the photographer said. “You can’t just ask someone for a smile.”
Instead, LaFleur asks mothers and daughters to chat, goof around, hug and say, “I love you.” Through those actions, he’s seen tender, funny and emotional moments.
While sometimes he also sees dynamics that are a bit fiery, LaFleur said participants say they are happy to be there. Many of the women are happy to finally have a reason to have that family portrait taken they’ve wanted to do for ages.
“It’s an excuse to do it,” he said of the Mother’s Day exhibit. “It’s a very cool thing.”
LaFleur said he often shoots 20-50 families for the show, all depending on how many people sign up.
The portraits can be taken at the studio or in the location of the participant’s choice, and can be in black and white or colour. Family pets and significant objects, such as vehicles, can also be included in the image.
In exchange for participating, the models will not be charged LaFleur’s usual photography session fee and can purchase any of their portraits included in the exhibit at a special price.
If you’re interested in participating, call LaFleur at 250-248-8585 or visit gordonlafleur.com All photographs will have to be taken by the end of April so they can all be printed and framed by Mother’s Day, which is May 10 this year.
The exhibit Tribute to Mothers and Daughters will, as always, be shown in the lobby of the Quality Resort Bayside in Parksville. LaFleur said he chose that particular venue as it often hosts a Mother’s Day brunch. “We thought it’d be a good dove tail,” he said.