I was named after my Grandma Stella, a woman full of grace, beauty, and warmth.
Her home, her soft hands, her laugh, her hugs... like summertime evening light that wraps everything in a golden haze. She filled any room she was in with comfort, light and warmth.
When she passed, I gathered with my family to go through her belongings. I found boxes and boxes of old photographs. Amongst them were memories of her motherhood, when she was healthy and vibrant, of her siblings, when they posed in front of an old sports car, and of her parents as newlyweds, when they oozed flirtatious giddiness as they stood next to each other in 1942.
These photos were a window into my grandma's everyday life, and they were extraordinary. I spent hours holding every photograph I found, re-living moments in the past that paved the path for me to live my own beautiful life, and carefully placing them into albums for my Grandpa and family to peruse and love.
Family and friends traveled from afar for her funeral. A few people began to look through through the stack of albums I had left in the living room. Slowly those few became a roomful. I was speechless as I watched so many people pass the photos around, reminiscing on the stories and memories that they tell. Through those photos, the comfort and warmth of Grandma Stella replaced the heartache and sadness, and brought joy, laughter and healing to all of us.
Until this time in my life, I hadn't lost anyone I was close to, and until this moment, I didn't realize the true weight and importance my job as a wedding and portrait photographer held. The photos I take of you aren't just for you, they are also for your children and great-grandchildren to remember you by. They are an investment in keepsakes and heirlooms for your loved ones to cherish for years and years after you are gone.