Cree photographer captures elders portraits

Cree photographer captures elders portraits

A Cree photographer based out of Winnipeg wants to give others the thing she always wished she had — a picture of their grandparents.

“Growing up, I never had professional photos of my grandparents,” said Iris Saunders, a member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation.

With a black backdrop and two lights, Saunders and her three babies — her daughter, spouse, and camera —  captured the smiles of over 30 elders from the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

“Ten years from now they’re going to look at that portrait and be like ‘yay, I get to see my grandma smile in a clear photo with all the details,'” said Saunders.

The emerging photographer says really followed her heart with this project, which took place the last week of July at Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Home & Community Care Centre. She said the room was filled with lots of laughs and coffee as the elders came in and out of the photoshoot.

Iris Saunders is a Winnipeg-based photographer. She is Cree and a member of member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation.
Iris Saunders is a Winnipeg-based photographer. She is Cree and a member of member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation. (Jeff Stapleton / CBC )

Hazel Kent and Jean Bear were among the elders who had their portrait taken. They both said the experience was a privilege.

“I didn’t think I’d get to 60 plus,” said Kent.

The two have been best friends for 50 years, and said they couldn’t stop laughing during their shoot. For them, getting their portrait done was for the memories and so the next generation would know them.

Hazel Kent and Jean Bear couldn’t stop laughing during their shoot.
Hazel Kent and Jean Bear both said it’s a privilege to get their picture taken. (Jeff Stapleton / CBC)

Clarence Reginald Straight, who is 77 years old, was among those who got in front of Saunders’s lens.

“There’s not to many of us left on reserve that over my age,” said Straight.

For him, the photos are important for the sake of keeping the community’s history alive.

“Now with these pictures that you’re taking, there’s something to look back on,” he said.

Pooja Entertainment actors, crew reveal trauma of unpaid dues, hope Akshay Kumar-Tiger Shroff will step up: ‘Had to sell house, plead for money from hospital’ | Previous post Pooja Entertainment actors, crew reveal trauma of unpaid dues, hope Akshay Kumar-Tiger Shroff will step up: ‘Had to sell house, plead for money from hospital’ |
New Tom Hanks film Here and the unsettling ‘de-aging’ technology keeping stars forever young Next post New Tom Hanks film Here and the unsettling ‘de-aging’ technology keeping stars forever young