"In this case, it is not so much about capturing how the child changes over the years, but about capturing how much the child changes us, instantly, unknowingly, and effortlessly"
Perhaps that will be the case then too...and in an instant, whatever concerns you have about getting through the session will evaporate. You are an extraordinary photographer and deeply empathetic woman. I can't help but believe the results and the process will be extraordinary as well.
Good for you..one point to share, in the types of situations you should be prepared for many events. The baby may not live long enough for the photo shoot - so be prepared for that, the baby could go 'during' the photo shoot..your emotions will be all over the place..so will everyone else. We were fortunate to have the time when mother died to spend the day at hospice with her, the one thing wished I could have done was brought a camera to capture everyone coming and going throughout the day..but the family was not open to the idea and out of respect..you get the idea.
So since the family has approached you..please do it, you will be amazed at how you go into auto mode and how you will get through it...
Good Luck and Thanks for Sharing.
My mother had a sister who died within the first year of her life. Being in the 20s and living on a farm, baby portraits were a luxury. Now, years later, after all the siblings pass away, there will be nothing left to remember her by other than a grave marker and a public record.
Your images, no matter how difficult will always be a reminder to family that in her few moments with us on this Earth she had a profound effect on many. I think in the years to come your portrait will help those who see it understand that the bonds of love always transcend the fragility of our human existence.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
To me, one of the biggest and most important functions of portraits is to keep people, as it were. A photograph may very well outlive the physical person, and as such it has a personal significance to it not found in other types of photography. These images may never bring happiness in and of themselves, but the fact that they exist will serve as a reminder of something the family apparently never wants to forget, and that is good. It will be a hard thing to do, but I know you will do a wonderful job.
I really understand it very good because I have a bit a similar action going on.I have to take a wedding shooting from a very sick woman at 10. July and she told me on the phone "it will be my last large event and my last wish but I'm not strong enough to make it longer then for 3 hours including the church and apero after the church".
But she hopes to survive till then. Mabye she took me because she nows from others thad I'm a really fast wedding photographer and have never failed till now, nock on wood!
I got also very silent when she was first time on the phone and told me here story just yesterday, she has to do everything in a hurry now, what she wants completed!
Normaly I do not accept so short weddings, but in this case I will do it and give my best for here and the whole family!
All the best to you Cheryl!!!
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Back in 1995, my wife & I had a 5 month old son that died suddenly from SIDS. I can tell you that the photographs we have of Robby are some of our most prized possessions. This was before my photography days, so we have mostly snapshots and some photos from the local cheapo portrait studio. Nothing of great quality, but still priceless nonetheless. Our oldest daughter was 2 when Robby died and we’ve since had two more daughters. We all really enjoy studying those photos of Robby from time to time.
You definitely have a gift for photographing people. Don’t worry about getting the perfect shot, just do what you do. Any photo you make for this family will be a masterpiece to them.
after reading this thread I ventured over to your website to view your work.
astounding. you have such emotion and feeling in your portraits. the connection and comfort of your "clients" seems almost family like.
I am truly impressed and in regards to your present situation you will undoubtedly create images of wonderful quality and ones that this family will never forget.
I'm sure the emotions you bring to session are part of the reason why they chose you and why your work, in turn, inspires the emotions it does.
I don't know if this family had an amazing amount of insight or were just lucky, but it's very good that they chose a photographer whose method and materials are far more likely to last decades into the future than that of 90%+ of the rest of the portraitists around.
I frequently wonder what archivists and researchers will think of this generation a hundred years hence when less than one percent of the photography survives. One thing's likely, though. Your portraits of this family will be among them, and will speak well of this time.
Thank you all so much. Just knowing this family is out there, and so many others like them, has given me a sense of urgency about what I'm doing. It's an honor, but one that comes with a tremendous amount of pressure. I've got some time to let the situation sink in a little bit and gather my thoughts.
Matt, I've so sorry about Robby. I really appreciate your perspective and encouragement. That's exactly why I want to do this family's session -- moments that are hauntingly beautiful that can never be experienced again.
The others are right, this family couldn't have chosen a better photographer and even more important a better *person* to make the first and last images of their little baby.
I wish you a lot of strength for this job. Just do your 'thing' and I'm sure the photos will be absolutely beautiful.
Thanks for sharing this story, and thanks to the others for sharing their story too.