You never know the power of an image...

jamesbjenkins

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I'm sure it's not that uncommon in the grand scheme of things, but this is the first time I've personally experienced anything like this:

The young man in these 3 pictures was a ringbearer at a wedding I shot in January. Other than the aisle shot, they weren't planned at all. I was just going through the day...

This little guy passed on in a tragic house fire this past Sunday, along with his grandmother who was watching him. I found out after the bride contacted me to thank me for taking the thumbs up picture below, as it had gone viral on Facebook as people mourned and comforted the family. It's a simultaneously humbling and heartbreaking feeling knowing that one of my images was displayed prominently at his funeral.

This is definitely one of those times when this job goes so far beyond business pursuits. I'm reminded how meaningful and deeply personal our work as photographers can be for people, in a way almost nothing else can.

Have you had a similar experience? I'd love to hear about it. I'm so speechless trying to process this, all I know to do is pray and share this with you like-minded people.





 

ronlane

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That is touching James. While I don't have the story to go with it yet, I have made the realization to take photos of my family, especially the older ones, any chance that I get. My grandmother's health is fading and at 84 years young, I know that I won't have her around forever. I took some portrait shots of her Memorial day weekend, to make sure that I had good recent photos of her. I now have a few that I could use for that case. I also got one of her and husband, I printed and framed this one to give to them.
 

o hey tyler

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That is so sad, James. :(

But, it speaks to what we do as photographers and our ability to immortalize the loved ones of others. I'm glad you were the person to take some of the last images of this child, the family will cherish them forever.
 

kathyt

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sm4him

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Well, NOW I'm gonna cry...I'm not one of those overly emotional, sweet 'n' sappy female types (in case you hadn't yet noticed, lol), but I'm a mom. I cannot even imagine the pain of that loss, and yes, if it were my child or relative, these pictures would become that much more treasured.

I did the photo displays/slide shows for both my grandmother, back in 2001 and my dad in 2005--I found it to be an incredibly therapeutic process to sort through all the photos of them as I grieved.

My only "similar" experience was actually more of an "opposite" experience. A couple of years ago, I reconnected with a dear friend and former colleague. We hadn't seen in each other since my oldest son was about a year old, and he was turning 21 later that year. We arranged to have dinner and had a great time reconnecting; it was one of those friendships where you felt like you were just picking right back up where you left off. We vowed to get together more often--a month later, she had a sudden massive heart attack and passed away.
While I am incredibly glad that I got to have that evening with her, my regret is that I *didn't* take a picture of us together that evening, because it seemed kinda "hokey." I sure wish I had that hokey picture today.


That is touching James. While I don't have the story to go with it yet, I have made the realization to take photos of my family, especially the older ones, any chance that I get. My grandmother's health is fading and at 84 years young, I know that I won't have her around forever. I took some portrait shots of her Memorial day weekend, to make sure that I had good recent photos of her. I now have a few that I could use for that case. I also got one of her and husband, I printed and framed this one to give to them.

Huh. Ron, I gotta admit, I thought you were closer to my age. My MOTHER will be 87 in about two months though, so I guess I have more years on you than I thought! :D
Do enjoy the chances you get to be with her NOW; don't waste the time, thinking the opportunity will be there again tomorrow. I also lost my sister-in-law, who was more like a second sister and who had been in my life since I was just a teenager, this past year. She died in her sleep, while visiting her ailing dad in CA--she was just 60 and there had been no indications anything was wrong.
 

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