There are very few times in a career that completely change the way you think and feel about what you do….
I received an email from Sarah, a photographer from Connecticut, asking if I had some free time to do a portrait session for her good friend, Kelly. Kelly is a wonderful mom of two beautiful young girls and married to a very sweet and handsome man, Jason. Sarah continued in her email, “… Kelly’s husband has cancer and he is transitioning at home because the doctor’s don’t think there is anything else they can do for him, and we’d like to see if we can get them a family session with their daughters before he passes.” My heart sank. I knew immediately that I wanted to do this session for them, but I was leaving in a few days for Hawaii, which was almost immediately followed by three more weeks of travel. Sarah and I went back and forth and finally found an afternoon that was open for both me and the Van Stone family. I was heading over there in less than two days & just couldn’t wrap my head around how the session might go.
My drive to the Van Stone home was quiet as I was thinking about the session until I finally realized that this session wasn’t going to be about what great wall-potrait-type-images that I would try to produce. It was simply about capturing a family’s love for one another, no matter what the background or lighting looked like.
When I arrived, I was excitedly greeted by the youngest daughter who wanted to show me all her favorite books and told me story after story. Kelly was so warm and inviting which helped eased the feeling that I was intruding on precious family time. Kelly brought me into Jason’s room & introduced us. I spent a short hour with the Van Stone’s… just trying to capture a single heartfelt moment for each family member that they can love and cherish forever. My time with Jason was short as he tired easily, so our session quickly moved outdoors where I simply let the two girls play while I took a few pictures of them.
I left their home after hugging each one and drove home quietly… “This is what photography is about” was all I could think as I teared up behind the wheel. Kelly wrote me two days later letting me know that Jason had passed away. She was so appreciative that their last moments together as a family were captured on film.
This is why I do what I do… to document the truly meaningful moments in life. I sincerely want to thank Kelly for having me into their home and for Sarah for reaching out to me – sending a very big hug both of your ways! I hope our paths cross again.