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Photography Question 
Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004

Just how important we are...

I just wanted to remind everyone just how important we as photographers are in the lives of those that we are so privileged to work with.

I very nervously accepted a job to photograph a family of approximately 30-40 people. So yesterday along with the large family shot, I took several shots of the smaller families. I don't normally do Sunday work, and I've never done a family this large.

Today, I received a call from the lady who coordinated the family get-together... her niece's 12yr old son (who I had just photographed laughing with his mom & siblings) was killed this morning while waiting for the school bus.

She thanked me for being willing to work yesterday and said they just could not believe how fortunate they were to have me there to take these shots.

So, please, at this time of the year and always, remember how important we are in preserving the memory of all those families that we work with.

I didn't mean to post a sad note, but I am sitting here with tears welling in my eyes at the thought of this single mom losing her son and knowing that I was lucky enough to give her that last family portrait.

Take care everyone.

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12/19/2005 8:54:01 AM

Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
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  Brenda the story is so sad. I got a few tears in my eyes too.

I am sure that family will treasure the images forever. How lucky it was for you to be in this families lifes at just the right time.

I am sure glad you deceided to work on a Sunday.

I shot a family reunion birthday party the other day and the birthday girl was 95. You never know from day to day what will happen. But the images will be in the families albums forever.

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12/19/2005 9:10:05 AM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  Yes, that's true Kerby, you never know. I'm looking forward to getting birthday pics of my Gram in January when she turns 94! :) I hope I have her genes.

Thank goodness for cameras and the ability to capture time. We are all so fortunate.

Best wishes for a happy holiday Kerby.

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12/19/2005 9:37:11 AM

Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thanks for sharing this with us, Brenda. My heart goes out this family. What a horrible event at a horrible time of year!
I always have enjoyed having lots of pictures, especially portraits of my girls. I tell my husband memories last a lifetime and a picture lasts longer...
I'm so happy that you will be able to give this family that final smiling, laughing portrait...I'm sure that it will be of some comfort to them and a great way to remember this young man.

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12/19/2005 10:19:58 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  wow Brenda, Im so sorry to hear that... that was an incredible story... it is a good thing you got those precious last pics of the little boy. Damn, life sure is crazy, one day your laughing and having fun, the next day you could be just a memory, a photograph in a family album... I would make an 8x10 and send it to the kids family for free.
its sooo sad.
yeah, its a good thing you were there... makes you think, dont it?

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12/19/2005 1:03:43 PM

Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  Thanks for the reminder of how precious our kids are. I know I get caught up in life and forget to be grateful for the time we have together. I am sure they will be sooooo grateful to you for those pics of their last day together. Such a sad story.

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12/19/2005 2:06:55 PM

Bret Tate
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/12/2005
  I have been a portrait photographer for many years. This type of situation happens more often that you would like to think. Photographs are very important to families. Just think of all of the disaster reports, whether it is a single family home fire or something like Katrina. All of the people talk about the lost photos. One thing to remember, especially as photographers and as parents. As the years pass and your children grow, you will have many, many photos of your kids. Rarely will you have many photos of yourself. It is just as important for your kids to have photos of you as it is for you to have photos of them. My wife and I are a case in point. We have many photos of our children (ages 21 & 23). The last were just taken a year ago. However, the most "recent" photos of my wife and I were taken in 1994. Never, ever undervalue the importance of the photos of family and friends. As I said, I am a portrait photographer. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my life is knowing what I can give to families.

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12/19/2005 2:21:10 PM

Alisha L. Ekstrom
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/30/2005
  I am totally sick to my stomach now. WOW..That is just HORRIBLE!! I had tears welling up reading your story. I am sooo sad for that family. You never know what will happen next in your life. Cherish the moments you never know what the next moment may bring!!!! I gotta go hug my 5 year old son now.

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12/19/2005 3:10:58 PM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Oh, this is soooo sad. Especially around the holidays. I can really relate to them as my mom died on Christmas Eve when I was pretty young. You never again have a holiday without a note of sadness.

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12/19/2005 3:14:53 PM

Jen    Brenda, thanks for sharing this very touching event with us. I have done a 90 year old woman's birthday party, & of course, I did stop and think that she may not be around too much longer and so I tried to capture as many special moments during the day as I could. This makes me realize how short our lives are (no matter how old you are) but that our photos will be forever. Thanks for the reminder to not take one moment for granted.

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12/19/2005 5:32:56 PM

Craig  Paulsen   I feel for you. About 3months ago the grooms father was having chest pains and decided to go to the local clinic. The ceremony was delayed until the father called and said they would have to do a bunch of test and to go ahead with the ceremony before it got dark. The father had died after countless attempts to revive him(heart attack). The groom said his father drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney so it wasn't a big surprise. They weren't informed till after the reception that he had passed(mom wanted them to enjoy their wedding party). I found out that the time of death was 2 minutes after my time stamp for the kiss were they sealed their vows. I even went to the clinic to see if my camera time was in sync. So I let him know that Dad was their in spirit

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12/19/2005 5:52:55 PM

Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005
  my goodness...this thread is hard to read. It is a lovely gift to give someone, isn't it. The gift of their memories? My heart goes out to that family, Brenda.

I had a woman contact me after about 10 minutes of passing a flyer out in my neighborhood. Her son had just arrived in town the night before from Iraq and her sister was dying of cancer...not expected to live another month. She said the whole family was getting together in about an hour and wanted to know if I would come take their portraits. I was able to and every time she sees me, she mentions how much of a "coincidence" the whole situation was. Her sister died just a couple of weeks ago and she has still mentioned how "special" this shoot was for them. It was such an honor to photograph such an event. What a blessing for me as well :).

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12/19/2005 9:03:44 PM

Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005
The woman in the chair with the white cap and blue suit on is the lady who passed away from cancer... it was a very good day for her...

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12/19/2005 9:17:40 PM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  Wow, Cyndee. I remember seeing that picture you posted. It's amazing how things work out in life.

Craig Z... I agree with you, I actually just cropped him out of his family picture because they wanted a nice shot of him for the viewing. I'm delivering that this morning (no charge). I'm also going to give the mom a free 8x10 of her family shot so she'll always have that.

Bret T. - YOu are so true about making sure you're in the picture. I look back at some of the candids I have of family events, and unless my daughter took her camera I'm not in many of them. Thank goodness my D70 has the remote because I make my family pose for a new picture each summer!

Craig P - Wow, that is a heartbreaker. How ironic that Dad held on long enough for them to become married. There was definately some unknown intervention there.

Just to let you know I just read the article in the paper this morning and the young mans name was Dakota. His principal said he was an amazing young man.

Thanks for all your comments & for sharing your own stories. I feel very honored to be among all of you.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.


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12/20/2005 4:34:21 AM

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