The Good Memories

I’m really struggling with how to start off this post, so I’m going to jump right into it. 

This is my beautiful friend Chelsea and her daughter Molly.  Chelsea is one of the most kind hearted and loving people I’ve ever met and would literally give the shirt off of her back to anyone who needs it. And my heart is hurting for her.

I’ve been photographing Chelsea & Molly for several years now.  Last year, she wanted to include her parents and her brother Chris in their session. Chelsea’s brother, Chris, had recently gotten out of jail.  He had struggled with addiction for years, but at the time, was clean and doing very well and the family was full of hope for his future.  We met at Harlinsdale Farms and it was a gorgeous evening full of laughter and love, and of course photographs.

On Saturday, I photographed this session for Chelsea & Molly.  They are one of my favorite families to photograph always, as the love and connection between these two is truly something special to capture.

On Sunday, Chelsea’s brother Chris lost his long battle with addiction.

Chelsea and her parents received the heartbreaking phone call that he had been found unresponsive at home and it was later confirmed that he died of an accidental overdose.

They loved him so and his loss is is heartbreaking for their family.

I sat with Chelsea last night and listened to her talk about her brother & how much she loved him. It has been years of heartbreak for her family, but she wants to focus on all of the good memories she has of him.  I didn’t really know Chris at all, but I do know that he looked at his sister and his niece with such admiration and love. 

As they mourn the loss of his precious life, Chelsea and her family hope that Chris’s story may help someone else to seek the help they need to overcome addiction.  And to seek help again, and again and again, until they beat it, if that’s what is necessary. When lost in addiction, a person might believe that their life doesn’t matter.  But I promise you, it matters.  Addiction impacts so many people and has reached epidemic proportions. Below are the beautiful faces of people who have been heartbroken by this disease. 

Chelsea & her family are asking that anyone who would like to honor Chris’s memory do so by making a donation to the Dismas House of Nashville.  The Dismas house believes that second chances saves lives, and their mission is to provide a safe haven for offenders transferring out of prison to aid them in beginning a new life. 

If you need more information about addiction resources, check out Bradford Health or call 1-888-577-0012.

Photo Session Location Selection – Light & a good dose of Imagination

Sometimes, clients already have an idea of the type of location they would like to use for their family portraits, and other times they come to me for suggestions.  Sometimes, my suggestions sound a little crazy and not like a “normal” place that you would want to have photos made.

You have to use your imagination.

Lucky for me, if you are a client who is also my friend, then you trust me when I say “meet me by the U-Haul place off the side of the street. That’s exactly what Erin did without blinking, and I love her for it.

I happened to notice the spot when I was scouting for light before our session, and it just called out to me.  I snapped the first two photos below with my cell phone, just so I could show you how ridiculous it probably looked as a location option.  It’s really kind of a dirty, uninteresting stretch of road with a broken down old building, a billboard facing the interstate, and a parking lot full of U-haul trucks.

But on this particular day, the light, the clouds, the wildflowers, a little fence and the way the weeds were growing caught my eye.  Now, if I go back in a few weeks, I might find the place completely uninspiring, but for Saturday, it worked.  So I wanted to show it to you as an example of how it might look to you, versus how it looks through my camera.  

For when scouting out locations for a portrait session, the most important factor is the light, and then a healthy dose of imagination to see what it might look like through the lens of the camera.