I love photographing seniors. It is truly a pleasure to meet these young people with so much promise and hope for the future. This year was a bit harder, though. As many of you know, I lost both of my nephews in a tragic car crash on November 5th, as they drove to school one morning. The older boy, Ian, would have graduated with the class of 2016, and we never got around to taking his portraits before he passed. The rally of support from the boys' friends and families has been a true gift to our family, especially the boys' parents, since the accident. The two are surrounded by young people constantly by love both prayerfully and by being physically present, it has been a God-send. Both boys had so many friends. Truth be told, it was difficult to find a location for their memorial service because of the huge mass of people to be accommodated. One friend in particular, Dylan, was pretty much inseparable from Ian for many, many years. Dylan is a permanent figure in our family now. He's a tall, witty, quiet but funny young man. He loves to pull pranks and jokes around with everyone. Even when he tells you things like "You're ugly," you laugh, because the only thing bigger than is goofy grin is his heart, and you know he's really telling you "You're special." It was an honor to photograph this guy. He and Ian had planned to get their senior pictures done together eventually, so we worked hard to make Ian a part of the photo session in spirit when we did his photo session.
Fast forward several weeks, and I get to meet another of Ian and Dylan's inner circle of friends, Blake. I liked Blake from the first moment I met him. He was pretty forgiving and patient considering I left my memory card at home and had to have my daughters bring it to me during our session. We got to talk and goof around for a while. Thankfully Dylan and his fabulous mother, Tara, were there to ease my anxiety of dropping the ball. Blake loves his car and skateboarding. His mother told him, "If you love your car so much you ought to get your pictures taken with it...." Not a problem. Done! He had lived around the corner from Ian for many years, and they had also grown up together and were very close. I imagine if the 3 of them had gone to the same school, Ian would have joined in the acclaim of winning "Biggest Bro-mance" for their high senior class. After our photo session, Blake was even kind enough to appease my daughter (a junior in high school) with a ride in that very cool car.
Photographing these young men helped me through a very difficult time of capturing memories that our boys will be missing out on. But just being able to share the time with their friends, and see the happiness that they all shared while Ian was still with us brings a little rainbow to a very cloudy year. I'm wishing the best of luck and the brightest of futures to these 2 boys. I know they will live doubly for themselves and for their friend, who watches over them from the other side, and I'm sure he is laughing along with them at their all their crazy antics together, because after all, what could be any more AWESOME than being a friend of the most awesome one there ever was, Ian Brown?