Friday, October 23, 2009

Inspiring Courage { BLOG }...

This post contains no pictures. Just a story taken from one of the photography forums where I lurk. It was posted and shared by a fellow photographer.

This story brought me to tears as I read it and really made me think about what is really important. I am so grateful for my children, family and the chance to enjoy it all. It's a long story but well worth the reading.

"As a photographer, I have shot a lot of things from the weird to the wonderful and things that without the shots in hand, people just plain wouldn't believe you if you told them what you had photographed.

Today I did a shoot that I know I'll never forget.

The other day I was asked by a friend if I could do one of their friends a favour by shooting some family portraits for them. It was lined up for today and I met the subject family at my friends well groomed home. The shoot went very well and the 2 boys aged 5 and 7 could only be described as perfectly behaved. My friend said they were normally little tearaways but today he admitted they were nothing short of little angels.The family interacted well and I spent about 15 minutes in the garden shooting the family, parents and kids together and maybe a little longer inside.

My friend whom is a keen but extremely accomplished hobby shooter rolled out every bit of lighting gear he had ( which makes for a very well equipped studio!) but I spotted a bright but softly lit corner of the lounge room and shot a second set of portraits there which everyone seemed to love the natural look of. Upon seeing them on the back of the camera, the mother confided that she much preferred that type of natural look and actually hated the type with backdrops. Subsequently not a light was plugged in nor a backdrop unrolled.

There were few pictures that weren't excellent and it was a very easy shoot even though I normally wouldn't do this type of work in a pink fit. AS far as i'm concerned, if the kids are co-operative and smile just right, your a hero shooter. If they decide they want to have a tantrum, your sunk. Luckily, thanks to the kids, today in the eyes of the parents, I was a hero.

After showing the mother the results on the computer she seemed very pleased and my friend and I did a little retouching of the shots and then printed out some A4'son his high end printer. Even I was impressed with what we came up with.After showing the mother the prints, she seemed very positive and genuinely happy with the results, even the single portraits of her.

I got talking with her Husband and my friend and noticed she had disappeared from view for some time. A little later outside while minding the BBQ , I had a chat to the mother who thanked me profusely for doing the shots for her and with a visible tear in her eye, said that this was something thing she had been meaning to get done for a long time and could now cross it off her list. She also confided that she had been in the bathroom for 20 min crying because she liked the pics and they meant so much.

The significance of the pictures is that she has cancer and is not expected, although is hoping for the sake of her boys, to last till Christmas.

She had planned on getting pics done for quite some time but hasn't been up to it and by some miracle, after being given last rights less than a week ago, is up and walking round and you wouldn't even know to look at her she was at all sick.

The boys looked great the way they were dressed, they wore the clothes she bought them to wear to her funeral. The next time they put them on, she will be gone and they will be going somewhere that no kid their age and well beyond should ever have to go to.

She has written out their significant age birthday cards with money enclosed in their 18th card to go buy their first drink and remember their Mum. She has cards for them for many Christmas's to come as well and made Videos and written many letters to be given to them at certain times in the future. Having lost my mother at a similar age to these kids, I also know what they are going to face not just now, but for many years to come.

The strength of this woman and her husband in the face of what they have already, and have yet to go through, was indescribable. Mum and Dad were very up front about the situation and there was no pretense or withholding discussion about the imminent. At dinner, she complimented my friend on the Potato he cooked her and said if it turned out to be her last one, she had really enjoyed it.

The cruelty and complete unfairness of this situation is beyond even my verbose ability to describe and is one of those things that no matter how bad you think things are, you are reminded of how much worse they are for others. I'm not a faithful man but things like this are a reminder of the need to stop and give sincere thanks for how well off you really are just to be walking upright and expect to be for the foreseeable future. For this woman, this time next next week is a very uncertain proposition.

The older I get, the softer I become but I don't mind admitting when that woman was saying good bye to go home and thanked me for the pictures and told me that was the last thing she wanted to get done and now everything was in order and she could go with no worries knowing that everything was now done, I had to have a few not so short moments in another room while I got it together again.

I can't imagine the pain this woman is going through from things other than caused by her physical sickness or how the husband hasn't just curled up in a ball and lost his mind out of sheer despair. He tries to be positive and reassuring about things they can still look forward to and enjoy with each other but she is equally realistic and honest about the fact she could be gone in a matter of hours should one of her many complications take a turn for the worst.

I have been at this Photo caper a long time now but today was one of the easiest, hardest, most significant, saddest, meaningful and probably appreciated jobs I have shot so far. It's also one of the most unjust, cruelest and just plain wrong situations I have ever seen first hand and one I'll never forget.

Photography has taken me some amazing places but today it took me to one of the saddest I have ever seen as well. I know though personal experience the significance of the last Photos taken of a loved one hold, I just hope what I did today will pay proper homage and respect to this woman for all the years to come they will be one of the main memory's for her sons and a significant one for her husband."

1 comment:

Michael said...

I saw this mentioned on the Syracuse Photo Meetup so I clicked over to your blog.

I consider myself a rather stoic guy. Your post had me in tears......