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  1. #1
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    The things that matter

    I've been consumed for the past twenty-four hours by an e-mail I received yesterday. It was from a mother of two children who is expecting her third in August. She was making the usual request for additional portrait info and pricing.

    What set her letter apart was her circumstances. Her unborn baby has a fatal birth defect and will not live more than a few days after delivery. She wanted to know if I would be willing to come to the hospital when the baby is born to do the only complete famly portrait they will ever have. My heart is breaking for them, and while I am not at all sure how I will get through the session, I am incredibly honored that she approached me.

    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.

    I found myself, during today's sessions, going about this 'job' with more tenderness, more openness, and more depth than I did yesterday. I still can't think about that e-mail without tearing up, but that is what it's all about.

    No pretty wording here, but I really felt compelled to share this.

  2. #2
    Juraj Kovacik's Avatar
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    That's really difficult task you are standing ahead. I believe you will manage it with the some grace I can find out in your best pictures. Do your service. Juraj

  3. #3
    FrankB's Avatar
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    They couldn't have asked a better person to do this for them.

    All the best,

    Frank
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  4. #4

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    you will do the family....

    ......a great honor and something truly wonderful in the process.
    much respect to you.
    Frank

  5. #5
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Cheryl,

    Do the job with with the care and sensitivity that you've shown in your post, and in fact in all of your posts, and the family will have a wonderful set of photographs. I'm certain that the family will also help you through the day for they have clearly thought about it and are people with the same feelings as you.

  6. #6
    glbeas's Avatar
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    This is one assignment where tearstains on the prints won't be seen as a defect. Thanks for sharing Cheryl.
    Gary Beasley

  7. #7
    dr bob's Avatar
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    Everyone is different, but having read many of your postings and observed your fine work, I’m sure you will do a great job.

    While never having to work under your exact circumstances, I have had jobs involving a serious emotional envolvement. The anxiety was always worse than the actual task once work began. But, after completion, there was another quite different emotional issue. In retrospect I often have had more difficulty dealing with emotions than when actually working. That is when the Mate became very important.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    In the Victorian period, when infant and child mortality were fairly high, photography of deceased children was quite common. They would typically be dressed as in life and photographed as if they were sleeping. I suppose it is fortunate that this family knows what is coming, and they have found someone with a sensitive eye to preserve the child's image while still alive.

    Even when death is not on the immediate horizon, though, the idea of preserving the human image beyond death or change has always been a factor in the genre of portraiture, even before photography. This kind of assignment brings that part of the work to the surface. I'm sure you'll handle it well.

  9. #9
    sparx's Avatar
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    I know i couldn't do it but reading you posts and seeing your pictures over these last few months i know you can.
    [size=1]the all new darkplanet photoblog[/size][size=1]
    [/size]

  10. #10
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Cheryl,
    What extrodinary clients! In this day and age, it must warm your heart to see such sensitivity and love for this small, fragile life that will pass too quickly.

    Like many of the others here, I too have seen your photos and agree that if anyone can capture the love in this family, it is you. You will be in all our thoughts and we will send extra special thoughts to this family.

    Jeanette

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