The Importance of Family Portraits.
When I met Alex Pretty he was 10 days old. But I started making plans for Alex long before I met him. Raymond and Janine, Alex’s parents, had called me to plan their maternity and newborn sessions. When we met, Janine expressed that their portraits needed to feature their wharf that Raymond’s father had built them. Mr. Pretty was fighting cancer and while he was fighting cancer he was building their wharf. This wharf is really special to them.
I am sure that most of you know that my mother is fighting cancer so when I learned this about Mr Pretty I immediately started thinking about this sweet little baby. I am always so excited to meet these little babies. To photograph these first precious moments of family life. To see all the joy of new life for those around. So before I met Alex I started thinking about how important it was to capture portraits with his grandfather as soon as possible. I started talking about including Mr Pretty and all the grandparents in some portraits with Alex. Raymond and Janine thought it was a great idea so we left with a plan to make it work around Mr. Pretty’s chemo schedule. Not long after Janine got in touch to let me know that they were able to arrange for both families to join them for a family portrait. This day came and Mr Pretty was feeling great. He was happy and enjoying himself. Janine’s parents joined us and so did her sister, Jennifer. Raymond’s mother was there along with his brother and sister. We had a wonderful session and they loved all over each other. Alex was the centre of everyone’s attention. You couldn’t wipe the smile of Mr Pretty’s face. When we were finished we all exchanged hugs and wished each other the best. Everyone was able to get together again and come to view all of the portraits we captured. They selected their portraits, one of which now hangs in the stairway in the main entry of Raymond and Janine’s home. They can look at it first thing in the morning and on their way to bed each night.
Sadly, Mr. Pretty wasn’t here to see little Alex’s first birthday portraits we captured on the wharf that his poppy so lovingly built him. He passed away on June 2, 2015. When he was laid to rest Alex’s little curl that you can see on the side of his head in these family portraits was placed in his hand.
If you have lost a loved one you know that there is nothing that anyone can really do to make it better. I know that people treasure their portraits more once they have lost someone. People tell me this over and over. I have experienced it myself. I know that Mrs Pretty treasures her family portrait, loves being able to look at her husband’s face on a day that he was so happy, so proud. That day was a celebration of family. Alex’s family. All of his immediate family members are in this portrait with him. He was only 8 months old and will not appreciate these portraits for a little while. But I hope that when he is a big grown man with a family of his own these photographs are some of his most precious treasures.
I have reached out to some families that I have worked with to get permission to share their stories. Thank you to the Woodrow’s and Pretty’s for letting me share theirs. I am so grateful that I was able to be part of something that is so fundamentally important for preserving Alex’s heritage.
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