“Rina Maria Rosade, Last Picture Taken” by Olaf Raymond Benold

People disappear. Death is the natural reason, but they also disappear from memory if they haven’t accomplished something in their lifetime that makes it into the history books. In a not-too-away future, it is as if ordinary people never existed. Because the close family disappears too. With the death of my father in 2004, the project LAST PICTURE TAKEN slowly developed to counter the usual trend of forgetting, maybe not to get forgotten (so fast).

I met Rina Maria Rosado through her son Dr. Jose Maria Pino Rosado, a pediatrician in Merida, Mexico. He asked me to take photos of his old mother. So we drove together to Cansahcab, a small town in Yucatán, Mexico, where Rina was born on 21.09.1921 and where she lived all her life.

Rina was already 90 years old at the time of our photo shoot on December 21, 2011. She welcomed me with great warmth and without a trace of suspicion as I entered her house. Her eyes curiously followed the setup of the camera and the light; she was obviously looking forward to our photo shoot. In fact, I believe that she was aware of the importance of our encounter and envisioned that her photos would be treasured by her many children and grandchildren after her death. A beautiful thought!

4 years after our photo shoot, Rina passed away in 2015. She reached the remarkable age of 94.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

I would say it’s all thanks to Rina. Her old, wrinkled face, her glance directed upwards and into the far, as if she is looking at a divine entity that appears above her in a cross that is larger than her body. The obligatory fan in Mexican houses, which initially disrupts the image’s symmetry, turns out to be a “grounding” element.

If you could make this photo again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I am happy with the photo.

Olaf Raymond Benold shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Olaf Raymond Benold, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Andalucia, Spain



Equipment and settings

Canos EOS 5D Mark II / EF24-70mm
ISO 320 / 100 Sec / F3,2 / 1x Speedlight and available light

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