She walked into our room quietly. “I’m Fiona from Heartfelt”
A quick hello and gentle introductions. There was a humming of whispers that slowly grew to warm chatter and occasional laughs.
We talked about what I wanted. We talked about Tara. We talked about Avery.
Tara was nervous. She kept saying she was scared of people looking at her. Of having photos taken. She just wanted to pain. We let her go and do her own thing.
Fiona started to get her equipment ready. Checking light, checking lenses, preparing. Then she did something wonderful. She asked Tara to help. Tara got to touch Fiona’s omg-it-is-very-expensive camera and help get it ready. Tara was interested. And Fiona was no longer scary. And I was able to relax that little bit more. Tara and I had cuddles. We laughed. Fiona caught it.
Soon Avery was with us. As well as the rest of the family. And we started to love on him. Sponge bath, re-dressing, cuddles and hugs. There were moments of joy, and sorrow. Shared moments of grief. Family saying hello and goodbye all at once. All the while Fiona silently moved around us, capturing the moments.
Silent were her tears, but I noticed them. And I knew then that she was more than just any photographer. She was sharing more than just a photography session, Fiona was part of our story. Fiona had become part of our extended family.
And this was cemented so firmly when, at sometime-after-midnight a couple of days before Avery’s funeral, some photos were sent through. Not only had Fiona captured the grief and the anguish we were all feeling in that room – but our family dynamics, our love, our joy and Tara’s innocence. It was like Fiona had been witness to our family for so much longer 2 hours.
Heartfelt photographers are a special lot. They are prepared to walk into a family’s darkest moment. To witness the lowest points of someone’s life, and photograph them. They have to deal with death, and babies, and tears. All at once. And not become completely overwhelmed. But they can’t be shut off from the emotions either – they need to be quiet and gentle and respectful. Grieve with the parents. Grieve for themselves (as many have had their own personal losses that bring them to Heartfelt in the first place). The photographers are not just taking photos. They are creating life long memories – and there is never the chance for a rain-check or a second shoot. They have to get it right the first time.
It turns out Fiona and I have a number of friends in common. We are linked by bloggers and connections around the internet. Both real and online friends. Of all the photographers to walk through the door that night, it was someone who I was linked to in less than six degrees. We share far more than just Heartfelt. Avery wove some more magic, and brought me Fiona. She was meant to walk through that door that night.