I meet some pretty amazing people in my line of work. They all have such unique and beautiful stories, and when they ask me to document and share those stories, it’s nothing but an honor. Matt is part of the Class of 2019 from Albion High School, and I have journeyed with his family through some really beautiful and difficult circumstances. A few years before I met this lovely crew, they endured a horrible loss; their son and brother Nicholas lost his fight with Leukemia. A few years after he had passed away, they asked me to do a family session, and mom Kelly was struggling to capture their family without their beloved son. Their son Thomas was about to be deployed, and they wanted a family portraits done before he left. It was a very painful thing to consider a family photo with a missing member, and so I suggested we include Nicholas with a photo of him, with the inclusion of his dog, and even visiting his gravesite. It felt like he was really there with us, in spirit, and we were all very emotional over the images. Over the next years, I was also able to photograph Thomas and Lauren’s wedding and sister Michayla’s senior photos. I feel so privileged to have been included at these snippets of their very full, beautiful life.
When Kelly asked me to photograph Matt, I couldn’t believe so many years had passed and that he was now a senior in high school. He has grown into such a wonderful young man, a talented scholar, and an amazing athlete. Matt was a part of my football feature in the fall, and has recently signed his letter of intent to swim at Nazareth College, where his sister also attends. Over the years, this wonderful family has turned their grief into hope and help for others who are struggling. I encourage you to check out their website HERE, where they daily help others create a life full of purpose. I was also so honored to photography the cover of their book, last year. Matt, you have a legacy full of love among your family members, and I know your brother would be proud of you as well.