Family: Jack at night

By lamplight

Jack is the peaceful one in our household. His calming influence is a counterpoint to Baileys wild rantings. They are best friends because Jack tolerates her mood swings and she needs his steady hand.

Even as a baby he was peaceful. I’d wrap him up like a burrito at bedtime and he’d stare at my eyes as I’d lay him down in his crib.

When he was 3 and Bailey was 5 they had their own rooms. A hallway about 15 feet long separated them.  One summer month in 2004 they both went through a period of night terrors at the same time. One of those nights Bailey got scared and screamed. Jack heard her and screamed too. Jack leaped out of his bed and ran towards her room. She did the same towards his. They collided in the dark hallway and they both gave the most terrifying scream I’ve ever heard.

Their screams went through the air into my ears and right to my legs. I hopped out of my bed to my feet in one deft move. I was in a stone dead sleep at the time. Sam jokes about it all the time.


Photo tips, philosophical information and technical data:

Rolleiflex FX Kodak Portra 160NC film. Exposure 1/15 sec f2.8

I’ve got a lamp on my bedside table. I pulled the shade off it and placed it on a stack of books so the shadow formed on Jacks face wouldn’t go up on his face.

You can see the shadow to the right of his nose. If that shadow was going up instead of straight across you’d get what is called “monster lighting”.

Think back to your camping trips when you friends would shine their flashlights up their face. Scary, no? Monster light.

Flattering portrait lighting is directional, creates form and comes from above the subject. This light is raking across, not coming from above. I didn’t have enough books to do that.

-Jon Ball is a photographer. He lives with his 5.75 kids and wife.


  1. Love that story and I love that picture. You take the most amazing photos and you totally capture the emotion of subject. Youccan totally feel how calm Jack is, I love it! Maybe one day I can take one picture like that! Keep them coming!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s