Grief is a process that no one is exempt from. When my Grandmother passed away, I dug through boxes of old photographs hoping to find photos of us so I could cling to the memories of the time we’d spent together. I was so afraid that I would forget her. Sadly, before the advent of cell phones and before I had an interest in photography, most of the photographs I have of the two of us are from when I was a toddler. Though everyone processes grief differently, many, like me, wish they had something tangible and visual to remember the loved ones who have passed on. This is why our jobs as photographers are so very important.
A few years ago, Stephanie Summers hired Arizona-based photographer Laura Gordillo to do an anniversary photo shoot for her and her husband, Taurean. Laura recounts on her Facebook page, “I remember it was hard to get him to smile. Then [Stephanie] said once he saw the pics he gave her a huge hug and said ‘Good job babe!’ Thank you for booking her she will be our family photographer from now on!” Tragically, Taurean, a paramedic, was killed in a plane crash while he was transporting a patient to the hospital one day. Stephanie was 5 months pregnant with their first child.
A year after Taurean died, Stephanie asked Laura to recreate a photo shoot in the same locations with her and her son, whom she named Taurean after his father. Since the three of them would never have a family photo all together, a second photo shoot in some of the same spots as the first anniversary shoot would be the closest thing Stephanie could get.
Using one of the images from the shoot, Laura made a composite, adding Taurean into the image, giving them a family portrait that Stephanie never thought she would have. Laura told Stephanie that Taurean “is and will always be by your side just like in this picture.”
Laura tells KTLA that Stephanie emailed her, “saying she couldn’t stop crying, that she absolutely loved it. She said it hurt so much and she missed him so much and she knows he would have been so in love with his son.” The image has since gone viral.
You can see more images from the two photo shoots below and visit Laura Gordillo’s website to see more of her work here.
CREDITS: Photographs by Laura Gordillo are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.