This posting might be a long one.
I volunteer with an organization called the Tiny Light Foundation and their aim is to provide complimentary portraiture to families with a sick or disabled child in Canada. I became involved after being approached by one of the Tiny Light members and I felt like it was a fantastic way to give back to my community. There is another organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) that is based out of the USA and I learned of them a number of years back and considered becoming a part of that group. But upon further research and thought, I decided not to ~ because I didn’t think I’d be strong enough to do it. Sometimes the children are very sick and sometimes they even pass away. Back then I just wasn’t able to commit to something emotionally like that.
I have my own son now who is a year and a half. He is healthy, loud, and growing by the day and every day I thank God that he’s OK. But having my own child made me realize something. It made me realize that perhaps I was being too selfish by worrying about my own emotions. If Fin was sick or disabled, I would covet something like this. I was suddenly wearing a different pair of shoes.
So I joined Tiny Light last year and wasn’t expecting to get any calls being in a more remote northern BC town. But I did. In the beginning of August I received an email from Laura who saw a news segment on Tiny Light, checked out their website and photographer listings and noticed that there was someone in Smithers. Since I am primarily a wedding photographer, my summers are insanely busy and I told Tiny Light I may not be able to do any sessions during the wedding season. But after I heard this family’s story, I knew that I had to do it. Emma was born with Down Syndrome and a heart condition that requires open heart surgery this fall.
When I met the family, everything was like any other normal Sunday morning in any other household. Except this family wasn’t chaotic like mine ~ it was quiet, serene and peaceful. Despite this daunting surgery approaching, the thing that struck me the most was the love this family shared. Everyone doted on Emma and Sam, the second youngest. People took turns holding Emma, making sure she was warm enough on our chilly morning walk or swinging Sam around to make her laugh. Even Sam clearly loved her little sister and didn’t leave her side once when we went indoors to do some pictures of Emma.
I intentionally wanted to spend more time with the family as a whole, because it was such a large family and it seemed to me really important to focus on those relationships. I did however, try to balance that out with some portraits of Emma as well as a glimpse of home-life. I think the ones of Laura feeding Emma are my favourite. You can see the connections here ~ this is not scripted but real life and really why I do what I do.
I hope you enjoy these images of a poignant moment in time. I hope that this perhaps urges you to make a point of picking up your own camera to begin capturing pictures of your own family or hiring a professional on a regular basis to document your family’s life. This is something even I am not diligent with, I admit it. And don’t just take the picture but PRINT them. Put them in a nice album so your kids can touch them, pour over them. I used to sit for hours and go through my parent’s black and white images from the old days. Digital cameras have benefited us but we have also lost so much appreciation for the art of photography and print form because of it. It takes some time but trust me, you’ll appreciate putting the effort into having something tangible your family can touch and see.
So what are you waiting for?