It’s a very personal thing to photograph someone. It’s especially personal to photograph them through loss and grief. So when Brandilee told me she wanted family photos, and wanted to find a way to include Finn in them, I wanted to do the best I could to make that happen for her, but wasn’t really sure the best way to do it.
I can’t even imagine what it might be like to lose a child myself, but I can guess that every first without your little one is incredibly difficult, including the first family photos after loss. I am thankful to have been trusted with this task, and hope that I was able to honor Finn’s memory while capturing the beautiful lives of his loving brothers and parents.
There really wasn’t much on the internet that I could find on honoring the loss of a loved one but Brandilee had made two requests so that was where I started.
The first thing she wanted was to photoshop Finn into some of the photos in a transparent way, symbolizing that his spirit was still there with them. I used photos from my family session with them from two years ago, and tried to blend it into a photo from this session.
The second thing she had requested was to include a framed photo of Finn with this family portrait session. So we printed her favorite image from that session two years ago, and she found a frame she like to put it in. The print was an 11×14 and I believe the frame was 16×20 inches.
One issue we ran into with the framed portrait was glare on the glass of the frame. Looking back, I wish I had asked them to remove the glass for the photo session. However, since I had the original image that the print was made from, it was pretty easy for me to photoshop the glare issue by covering up the reflection with the actual original image.
The last thing we did to include Finn in the photos was suggested to me in a forum of photographers who volunteer with The Gold Hope Project, and it’s actually my favorite. They suggested that we include a “stuffed animal or other object” that was important to the child whose memory we are honoring. What better way to remember Finn than to include his stuffed Avocado in the pictures?
One very important way that Finn’s family is honoring his memory is to be intimately involved in the continued fight against Rhabdo, the rare cancer that took Finn (and Sophie). If you want to learn more about their fight and the very important research going on at the Mayo Clinic, read this link on their blog.
To contribute to this incredible work please go to the following link: http://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc.
Select “Other” under “Designate My Donation” and type in “Pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma Research – Granberg/Gargollo.”
Typing in “Finn Schafran” when given the opportunity to enter in who’s memory this gift is for will help us continue to track Finn’s influence in this research