St. Pete photographer Marian Tagliarino is used to her posed subjects chatting with her in between shots. What surprised her,was a 90-year-old client telling her she had not had her picture professionally taken since 1986.
“Seniors aren’t really a part of the selfie movement, and they’re not being photographed often,” Tagliarino said. “I want to give them a chance to show up, dress up, and have a portrait of themselves they can hold onto.”
Moved by the idea, Tagliarino, who typically shoots fine art and portrait photography, applied for an individual artist grant worth $1,000 from the St. Pete Arts Alliance. The project: Shoot seniors living in Pinellas County, free of charge. She plans to eventually process, print, and showcase her work at the Morean Arts Center in St. Pete.
It’s the first grant Tagliarino ever applied for, and, to her delight, she was approved. Since 2015, artists have applied for the St. Pete Arts Alliance grant in the hope for funds that will go toward a local art project. This year, Tagliarino is among 21 creators chosen for the grant.
To start, she’ll begin connecting with Pinellas independent living facilities and setting up shop with a tripod and her Sony equipment. She may have tea or coffee with residents and use natural lighting to shoot. Her shots will be posed, prop-filled, and reminiscent of those ‘90s family shots where everyone wears white button up shirts.
“I’m not a photojournalist; my niche is portrait headshots and small groups,” she said. “I want to show people at their best.”
Though her $1,000 grant may not cover all costs of the photography project, Tagliarino thinks she will be able to reach the most people if she offers her services without compensation. The subjects and their families may purchase large-scale prints when she shows her work at the Morean Arts Center this fall. The date for the show is not yet determined. Right now, she’s focusing on the photography.
“I want them to feel beautiful,” Tagliarino said.