There's a title from a song which keeps coming to mind every time I think about Charity's shoot. "Through the eyes of love". Her story is truly a journey ,meeting the love of her life, Jonathan at the University of Kentucky, to marriage, to starting a family, to battling cancer, to discovering her youngest son had leukemia, to surviving and thriving!
Charity came with Jonathan and throughout the day Jonathan was there for her, supporting her, encouraging her. One lasting impression from the day was Jonathan's loving gaze, looking at Charity clearly through the eyes of love.
Our shoot was to document Charity's day, from make-up to hair to the actual shot. Charity started her day hooked to an IV for several hours before arriving at Amber's home, her friend and fellow cancer survivor, for make-up. The conversation vasilated between topics such as Herceptin, Zometa, ports, side effects along with catching up in each other's lives, all the while supporting each other. If I didn't know the "lingo", all those words would have been foreign to me but I knew exactly what they meant. My impression was of two beautiful and brave warriors that looked for and found calm in each others words and experiences. One thing Charity mentioned that so resonated with me was her saying "I've never had my makeup done before" and then listening to all the horrific experiences she has gone through; chemotherapy, surgery, having a port placement, abdominal surgery, and most of all watching her sone go through treatment for leukemia. There's such an eloquence and grace in her attitude. Amber's skilled make-up application along with her love and support helped to bring out all the beauty in Charity that was already there, through the eyes of love.
Following the make-up, we traveled to Lennon Heads Salon. Once completed there ,the transformation started to begin. Charity, in her own words wrote, "Events where I am the center of attention make me uncomfortable and anxious. Even receiving gifts from people makes me embarrassed and flustered. And having people watch me open a gift makes me feel very awkward." It was obvious while she truly appreciated the photo session, she was uncomfotable being the center of attention. That began to slowly change. She was simply stunning wearing a very flattering and stylish black suit which complimented her beautiful blond hair. Her trepidation began to fade and we were reeady to capture her beauty and strength and story through the eye of the camera. It's such a blessing and priviledge to capture and share the beauty of these amazing women, a beauty that's always present.
We wanted an outdoor session but a rainy June in Ohio changed our plans so we shot at a local wine shop and then at a downtown Columbus hotel. I must admit that we all so "enjoyed" shooting at the wine shop with a wine glass in hand! As the shoot proceeded, Charity became more and more comfortable. She shared how very much she enjoyed learning and reading. Her career, as mother, was so beautifully described when she explained " I feel I have a purpose, maybe not a grand purpose, maybe not something that changes the world or contributes to the GDP- but I am fulfilled and I feel like I'm making a difference to the ones I love. They are my passion. They give me purpose. They are my mark on history".
Charity told us with such joy how she and Jonathan first met, that Jonathan remembered well the first time he laid eyes on her. She shared there was a certain warm February Leap day picnic that included some cereal which had a little Buzz Light Year charm inside where they wrote their names and the date on the back. It really is the small precious momets in life that mean the most. Her picnic story reminded me of a quote from the movie Good Will Hunging that I love, " You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to."
What an amazing day! We came to meet Charity and Jonathan for another patient shoot, we left with wonderful new friends and with such joy and inspiration "through Charity and Jonathan's eyes of love".