"Life is a series of moments… and we all have life moments that define us.
There is a before that moment and after that moment. If we’re lucky, most of those life-defining moments are joyous.
For me, the most soul stirring, life-changing moments are the birth of my son and the murder of my father.
The last time Joy photographed our family was 6 short months after my step-brother killed my dad and step-mom in their home. It doesn’t matter why… there is no why. The biggest life lesson that I have carried with me since I got the call from the sheriff in Texas is that everyone has a story and knowing a person’s story makes it easy to empathize with them and impossible to hate them- even my step-brother.
I recently got tattoos on my inner arms and they are anchored by roman numeral dates on my wrists- the birth of my son and the death of my dad. I’m not sure what I believed before my dad died, but ‘Holding on for Life’ by Broken Bells has become our secret language…the way my dad has let me know he is ok. So much so that ‘holding on for life’ is forever tattooed on my arm.
If you hire Joy to take family photos, you probably already feel like you know her because she is so vulnerable and raw with her images and her words…just like an old friend. I never imagined myself crying during our harvest session but when Joy asked about my tattoos (I didn’t have them at our session 3 years ago), the flood gates opened and I cried from grief and happiness and gratitude and heartache and contentment.
It’s been 4 years since I got that call and its part of my story. Most days I don’t have to talk about it but when I do, I can talk about it without tears. But on this day, when Joy spent the day with our family, the tears flowed easily and I want anyone who watches this video to know they are all happy tears because when you experience incredible loss you also become acutely aware of all of your blessings. I’m grateful that Joy was able to capture my blessings and wicked dance moves… tears and all."
HERE IS THE VIDEO. I AM OVERWHELMED WITH EMOTION TO HAVE THE HONOR OF SHARING IT WITH YOU.
Watch it full screen...watch the entire thing... and then come back here and look through the photographs down below.
Music: Tyler Williams, 'Earth, Sky or Ground"
And here are a bunch of my favorite images from our day together at their home in Seattle. It was his first time ever pitching. His mama was so proud.