Students shoot portraits of Namaste residents

Hannah Grover
From left, Jerrod Noble, Bill Nourse and Tony Bennett discuss exposure and lighting before taking portraits of residents on Tuesday at Namaste House Assisted Living in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Residents at Namaste House received a unique holiday gift this year.

San Juan College photography students visited the assisted living house this morning to shoot portraits of each resident.

"Most of these people probably haven't had a portrait since their kids were small," said Tony Bennett, photography instructor.

Each resident who wanted his or her photo taken was photographed in three places in the assisted living facility. This was the second year San Juan College students have photographed the residents.

Rebecca Morgan, who owns Namaste House, said about half a dozen residents who had their photos taken last year have since died. She said the portraits shot by San Juan College students were the last photographs ever taken of them.

Morgan said last year's portraits were a surprise for residents, and residents this year were excited about repeating the opportunity.

"What these young people do is they bring out the best in our residents," Morgan said.

George Bacon, left, poses for a portrait with his dog, Magnolia, during a visit on Tuesday from San Juan College's intermediate digital photography class. The students in Tony Bennett's class visited Namaste House Assisted Living in Farmington to shoot portraits of the residents.

George Bacon, a retired veterinarian, included his border collie mix, Magnolia, in his picture. He said a friend found her after she was abandoned more than a year ago.

"She is now part of my life," he said. "She is extremely intelligent."

James Griffiths' two daughters, Erin McGinley and Shelly McDaniel, visited Namaste House to have their photo taken with their father.

"We always want to take a picture with our father," McGinley said. "Any chance we can get to get pictures and spend time together is so important."

Photography student Emille Morris said shooting residents' photos was a fun service project.

"I think it could be a blessing for a lot of the families," she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

Betty McHaley, a resident of Namaste House Assisted Living in Farmington, gets ready to have her portrait taken during a visit on Tuesday from San Juan College's intermediate digital photography class. Helping McHaley is Stacy Johnson.