I am a storyteller with a passion for documenting life. The good and the bad. My Passion Project is meant to provide individuals and families with memories. Photos that they can look back on, share and inspire others with. My goal is to turn hard trials into beautiful stories of strength, filled with all the raw emotions.
If you or someone you know could benefit from a free Passion Portrait photography session, please email email@example.com
Amber was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer in April after she discovered a lump in one of her breasts. Since then she’s had a double mastectomy and started chemotherapy. She has a lot on her plate with all her treatments, feeling lousy and not to mention she is a wife and mother to beautiful 3-year-old twins. Her courage is inspiring and she has only gotten more beautiful through her trial.
For weeks I’ve been wanting to ask her if she wanted to do any sort of photo shoot to document this time in her life, but didn’t want to be invasive. The feeling was so strong on Wednesday that I finally asked her. She replied within a few minutes that it was a total answer to prayers. I found out she would lose her hair any second and had already kept it 3 days longer than anyone she knew. She was planning on shaving it so she didn’t wake up with it on the pillow.
In less than 24 hours, I was able to round together a team of amazing vendors for a breast cancer inspiration shoot Amber deserved from headshots Sydney. We were able to use a beautiful blush Vera Wang dress and gorgeous jewelry from Bridal Brilliance Rentals. Miss Syna Pok Harris rearranged her schedule to do Amber’s make up. Then, we planned to meet at a stunning location up in the mountains thanks to Shaun Smith and Janna Stout Morrell.
I met Amber for a quick pre-hair-cut-shoot after make-up with Syna then we went over to Amber’s in-law’s home to shave her head (which will all be blogged separately as part of the Beauty Revived Project). Annette, her mother-in-law, is her amazing hair dresser. She set up her little salon in the front yard with a mirror for Amber to watch. There were a few tears shed, but Amber was soo unbelievably positive through the entire thing. After she shaved (and bronzed) her hair we were ready to dress her up like a breast cancer fighting princess.
During the entire photo shoot, Amber was smiling, laughing and having a good time. At the end she asked “Should I be having this much fun after shaving off my hair?” The answer is definitely yes. I am soo happy we could turn this really crappy situation into a memorable, beautiful one.
Memorial Day was every parent’s worst nightmare for my friends, Kaitlyn and Jared. Their two-year-old, Avery, was playing with her cousins when she fell into a river. All the adults began to search for Avery and by the time Kaitlyn’s brother found her at the bottom of the river she was lifeless. As they started infant CPR, they gave her a Priesthood blessing and soon the EMT’s took over and they were able to get a faint heart rate from this sweet, unconscious little body. She was transported a few miles up the highway by ambulance then life flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital. The next week was a complete whirlwind for the Allen family. When she arrived in the ICU, the doctors weren’t sure she was going to live and then believed that if she did, she may be a vegetable.
In the meantime, everyone was praying, fasting, fundraising, tying pink ribbons to their trees and doing all they could for the Allen family. By the end of the week, Avery was awake and making purposeful movements. Now Avery is reaching her 7th week at Primary Children’s Hospital and she is an absolute miracle. With a few hours of therapy everyday, Avery has slowly relearned how to move her body. She isn’t talking or walking yet, but doctor’s believe that she will be walking in the next six months. Avery is being discharged next Tuesday and will continue with out-patient therapy when she is at home. Before she left the hospital, Kaitlyn really wanted to document Avery’s Miracle so yesterday I spent a few hours with Avery and Kaitlyn during her therapy sessions. I am completely blown away by Avery’s strength and Kaitlyn’s faith. The entire story is absolutely incredible and definitely something that should never be forgotten.
Today I feel very blessed. On Tuesday, I was asked to shoot a funeral. My heart broke when I found out it was an infant funeral but of course I agreed. I spent Tuesday evening looking through slideshows of all sorts of funerals. I wanted to be prepared for the hardest event I have ever taken picture of. That alone was hard. I am so grateful they found me to be there to capture these hard times. I’m also grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Relief Society organization and my sweet little Brody.