In 2016 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to share my work through interviews. Iconic images came up in nearly every conversation.
"What was your favorite moment this year?"
"Is there a picture that has stuck with you long after you took it?"
To honor 2016 I thought I'd share my 2016 Image of the Year, and I'll also publish a small report of the number and types of shoots I did this year. People are so curious about what grief photography looks like, and because I do not share many images online I have limited opportunities to covey what it's really like.
For me, grief is like this.
It feels like too much.
This boy is three years old. You can see he's in the hospital. At this moment, he's been in the hospital for a few days. He doesn't yet have a diagnosis. He is in excruciating and sporadic pain that morphine doesn't help.
He was hardly able to rest because there was no position that was comfortable. His mother was with him during his entire stay, which was ten days long. She snuggled with him in his bed, read books with him, sang songs, and played with cars. She explained each of the procedures he would have for diagnosis and evaluation. All of them hurt and added to his pain.
This is a boy who had had enough. In this moment I saw that.
I saw how his fingernails were holding on to dirt that he played in just a few days prior. I saw him writhe in bed, even while sleeping, because the pain was too great. I saw a little boy who was confined to a bed and wired for evaluation who ordinarily would be outside running and jumping.
This is my son. Over the summer he was in the hospital. This image breaks me a little each time I see it.
That is what photography is meant to do. This picture I took on my humble iPhone camera tells a story in a way words cannot. It connects me with how I felt over those days in July. It renews my gratitude for his health. It evokes emotions I can hardly describe.
This is why I do this work. I have lived these pictures. While I cannot understand every circumstance I experience through the eyes of my client families, I can have heart for them because I can relate to the grief, anxiety, uncertainty, pain, anger, sorrow, and helplessness.
I see you. I want to help you see yourself and your family.
I see a lot of incredible moments of the human experience while being with families in love and grief. From each family I learn, and those lessons and points to ponder are what I wish to share with you here.