Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Beautiful Story of Survival | N. Virginia Portrait Photographer

Not even sure where to begin with this post.    So, let me start with how I met Janice.   Janice and I have a mutual friend through a photography workshop I attended last Fall.   Our friend introduced when I asked about a videographer for my I AM BEAUTIFUL PROJECT.   I reached out to Janice through an email and she responded very quickly.   We hit it off immediately and decided my project and her  love for storytelling were a perfect match!  We talked on the phone a few times and started what I believe will be a beautiful friendship for years to come.   Weeks passed and I needed a few more women to come for the promo video.  Janice had mentioned previously that she would love me to photograph her and her mother together sometime…but maybe it would work for her to join Janice and also participate in the project.   I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to meet them both face to face.

Janice’s mom Cindy is a three year survivor of a very aggressive breast cancer.   Last night, I went back through Cindy’s blog and read her amazing story!   Cindy’s zest for life can be felt in every blog post and even greater upon meeting her.  She is so full of energy and truly an inspiration.  

As I began photographing Cindy, my only desire was to give back some of what her journey with cancer had taken from her, and allow her to see the amazing beauty I did from the moment I met her.    

Some of you may not know this, in Jan. 2012, my beloved FIL lost his two year battle with stage IV mouth/throat cancer.   My MIL{love} and SIL{love} are both BRACAII positive.   To say that finding ways to support women fighting through cancer and are now survivors is near and dear to me, is a great understatement.    If you look at my session information, you will see that I offer two free beauty sessions each month to women battling cancer or are now a survivor like Cindy.  

Here is Cindy keeping me company as I waited for the first two women to be ready for our beauty session.

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I told you she is JOYFUL and so full of life!  She smiles and helps make others do the same!

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I love this behind the scene shot of Janice filming, while Cindy was getting the final touches done to her hair…

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Cindy warned me before we began that she is not “photogenic”, doesn’t really smile for photos, and to not be upset if doesn’t love how she looks in any of the photos.   I then began doing what I love the best, allowing my passion and love for women to bring her complete comfort and ease throughout her beauty session.  

As you will see, she is extremely photogenic, she smiled in almost every shot (because sometimes I asked her to stop smiling!), and as I showed her what I was capturing we both fought back the tears.

Now look at her before and after photo…isn’t she absolutely radiant?

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Just look how proudly and joyfully she held up her I AM BEAUTIFUL sign!

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Janice mentioned to me that her mom has more energy than most young people her age.   I can definitely say she puts most of us to shame with the amount of energy this woman possesses!   She makes 56 look like a piece of cake!  Now if only I will feel and look this good in 10+ years I will be thrilled!

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The photo above and the following two literally caught me off guard. I began to cry.   I had to fight back the flood gates and remain in control so that I didn’t lose the flow of what was happening in the room during her beauty session.  But if you take a moment and look at all three photos for a minute maybe you will see the same thing I did.  I stand in awe of the power of God to heal the human body, and bring life where death was trying to take up residence.  Cindy is living proof that the cancer is not always a death sentence and your will to live plays such a huge part in your recovery!  

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Cindy, this next photo is absolutely a favorite of mine as well.  You are stunning!

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I love how comfortable Cindy was by the end of the day being pampered and coiffed!  Open-mouthed smile 

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Cindy, my heart grew a few sizes bigger after meeting you!   My life is blessed having spent time with you!   I look forward to capturing your beauty in the future!   Thank you for allowing me the honor and privilege to share your amazing story of survival here with my friends and family!   HUGS and much love!

Now here is a little sneak peak of Cindy and Janice’s mother/daughter beauty session.   More of them next week!

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Hair and Make-up by Alison Harper & Co.

Have a beautiful and blessed day!

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