As photographers we are not just clicking the shutter. If we are doing our job right we are capturing the essence of our subject. And when a family has gone through something as saddening and tragic as the Kramer Family it can be hard for them to move forward and create new memories. Being sensitive to those needs, or whatever needs the family has going on at that moment is a very important part of our job. Jennifer and Jake of Two Birds Photography
are fabulous at what they do and I love the way they captured this amazing family.
A little bit of the backstory from the Mom, Heather.
“During the summer of 2009 we lost our little guy, Weston, in an accident while he visited his grandparents…we were on a youth trip and looking forward to seeing our kiddos the next day when we received the call to come…Wes had been in an accident. By the time we could get to the hospital Weston had already passed away and we were left confused and heartbroken.
We prayed, prayed, prayed during those early months…sometimes it was all we could do. We felt a small prompting from God to move forward with adoption…something that we had always had a desire for. We stepped forward in faith and started the process of bringing home two little ones from Ethiopia. In Ethiopia alone, there is over 5 million orphans…it didn’t take much to move past our hurt and see the hurt and need in these little lives. We knew that we wanted to make a difference in lives for eternity and this was how we were going to do it.
Our referral call came about 8 months after starting the journey to Ethiopia. On August 11 (one year exactly for Weston’s funeral) we received the call that we had been matched with a brother and sister…ages 2 and 4…they were waiting for a family. We were ready! Hope and Jakobi landed on U.S. soil on Feb 7th 2011. We are so grateful for their lives and the work that God has accomplished in us and them. He is in the process of healing and restoring, it was a joy to experience that firsthand.
So as we ventured to take our first family pictures…it was heartbreaking for me to do this without Weston. Something that should have been a pretty simple decision…really it’s just pictures!, was so hard. Over two years later…the simplest things make Wes’s death so real…make me walk through it again.
As I watched our girls pick out memory items that reminded them of their brother…I hate that they have the memories that they have of his death…but I love the memories that they have of his life. Each item that they took with them held a special place in their hearts. Bethany held Weston’s baby blanket and teddy…he was my only child who needed a ‘blankie’…this blue one was it.
In the days that followed Wes’s accident and funeral, Hannah dressed up this bear in Weston’s clothes and brought it around with her…it ate meals with us. She brought her Weston Bear with her to the photos.
Amelia is holding the last thing Wes played with on the day of his accident. He had made this little piece of cut off tree into a hammer and was using it to pound things as they played that day.
Ian, Hope and Jakobi don’t have any of their own memories of Weston but they know all about him through our stories of him. Ian plays with Wes’s truck that is in the pics. Hope is holding some of the pillow balls that were on his bed. Jakobi has the sword that Karl made for Wes out of wood.
It was a bittersweet day for me…for all of us. But as I look at the pics that Two Birds took I am so happy we went. They captured the kids and their memories in ways that words cannot speak. I love seeing the smiles on their faces and looking into each face and seeing the deep joy that is there…joy that only comes through pain and healing. Without pain we wouldn’t know true joy. I love seeing our little family built from world’s apart…but such a perfect fit.”
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As far as the the technical aspects of the shoot, the square format images were taken on the Holga with Portra 400 and Tri-X. The rest on Nikon D700s and 80-200.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!
Tory + Wendy