Okay, friends, this post might be a little raw, but it’s written from the heart.

This photo means more to us than we can put into words. These are our sweet, sweet grandparents, Bob and Shirley Richards, married for fifty five years. They were Amy’s first, but over the last ten years together, they’ve really becomes ours. Our grandpa is so proud of us, his six kids and all ten of his grandchildren. He loves to make jokes, stay up-to-date on all things politics and stands as the spiritual patriarch of our entire family. Our grandma is so full of joy. She makes everyone feel like the most important person in the room. Her love and her warmth is overwhelming, and her smile is infectious. Her faith is rock solid and she’s lived her life as an incredible example to all of us.

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Jordan took this photo at our cousin’s wedding reception in Nashville just a few short months ago, and today it’s the photo we cling to. That we’ll cherish forever. Because this week, we watched our grandpa hunch over our sweet grandma’s hospital bed and say his last goodbyes after 55 years of marriage. We watched him weep at her bedside as he told her how much he loved her and gave her permission to leave him for now. “I’ll see you again soon, my darling,” he told her.

We didn’t have the privilege of knowing our grandparents when they were young, full of their own hopes and dreams for the future. We’ve only known them with their gray hair, their glasses and the lines on the face that reflect a life well-lived. We only know them as grandma and grandpa. But because a photographer was there to click the shutter and tell their story, we get a small glimpse into what they were like at the beginning. When they were just Shirley and Bob, two young pups in love. When they weren’t anybody’s mom or dad, anybody’s grandma or grandpa. Could these two people have ever imagined on this day, their wedding day, that they would one day have almost a dozen people in this world who call them grandma and grandpa? Who would get to look at these photos and get to see not just what fifty-five years looked like, but also year one. That they would have room full of people who exist because of their love.

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These past few weeks have been a time of grieving and sadness, reminiscing and memories. We gathered with our entire family into our grandma’s hospital room to say goodbye. We saw her laying there in her hospital bed, looking so small and lifeless, lost in a tangled maze of tubes and beeping machines. Our cousin sent us the photo of our grandparents dancing at their grandson’s wedding this week to thank us again for taking it, and as we looked it, it sucked us in. And choked us up. We couldn’t stop staring. We could feel all the life and all the joy. Seeing that smile on our grandma’s face, a single moment captured, frozen and preserved forever was such a gift. This photo? This photo is everything to us now.

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And that’s the thing that hit us about this thing that we do. This thing called photography is such a gift, isn’t it? We get to be the ones to preserve memories that will only continue to be more and more precious as time marches on. We’ve clicked the shutter hundreds of thousands of times, and yet, this week, we understand what we do on a whole new level. How many grandmas, just like ours, have we clicked the shutter for? How many parents? How many siblings? How many families are going to cling to a photo like this on that day they see their grandpa say goodbye to the love of his life for the very last time?

So today, we’re renewing our commitment to excellence. And perspective. We’re committing to recognizing that no matter how many weddings we shoot, every single one is just as important as the one before. No matter how many “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” moments we witness, we will continue to treat each one with the respect and reverence it deserves. Because we are responsible for the photograph that someone else is going to cling to on their hardest day, just like we cling to this one now. And not just one someone. But a whole lot of someones.

We have the privilege to preserve a young couple’s love in its raw, pure, joyous, unfiltered, emotional state for generations to come, so that fifty years from now, when our clients are grandparents and their granddaughter gets engaged, they’d be able to open their wedding album and that 20-something would be able to feel the real, fresh, vibrant emotion come back to life and jump right off the page, that she’d know by feeling not just by seeing, how much her grandpa truly loved her grandma, because we believe that a legacy of love, love passed from one family member to the next, has the power to transform marriages and, therefore, entire family trees.

Tomorrow, we have our next opportunity to shoot a wedding. And what better way for us to honor our grandma’s memory than putting everything we have into telling the story of the next young bride’s wedding day? Knowing that one day, our bride’s children and grandchildren will hold onto those photos with everything they have.

So, friends, those of you that click the shutter, we hope this can be a reminder to you, the way this was a reminder to us, that as much as all the other things we all love to talk about in this industry matter, like lenses and SEO and camera settings and branding and ideal timelines and social media strategies, we can all take a deep breath together and remember why we got into this business in the first place. To preserve memories. To impact lives in real, meaningful, significant ways. And to celebrate life’s greatest gifts.

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We love you, Grandma. We know you are dancing in heaven today.

 

10 comments
filed in: Personal

    Jennie Karges

    My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that with the knowledge of God's hand in our lives you can have peace knowing this is not good by but see you later. I pray the memories may be sweet and the pain of losing such a wonderful person in your life may ease quickly. Thank you for sharing their story today. And know that your impact on those you know and interact with is a reflection of who your sweet grandmother is. I don't think there is much you could do to make her prouder. you are in my prayers that you might have a lighter burden and that the Lord will keep you and your family in mind as He lightens burdens today.

    Amy & Jordan

    Oh, Jennie. Thank you so, so much, friend. From the bottom of our heart. what you said means the absolute world to us. We feel so supported and loved by everyone right now and it’s making this just a little bit easier.

    Hugo Tomas

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and being open and honest about a situation that most of us hope not to be at anytime soon. It is indeed a great reminder for all of us that click the shutter, as for what is the reason that we started this in the first place. We will keep you guys and your family in our thoughts and prayers!

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you so much for your prayers, Hugo!

    Ashley Durham

    Take comfort in knowing you'll see her again. <3 Thinking of you! xoxo

    Amy & Jordan

    Amen :) Thank you, Ashley!

    Kristy

    We are so very sorry for your loss. My grandfather passed away about a year ago and we know the feeling all too well. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers and you know that she is in the best place possible, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Thank you for sharing your story and being so real. You guys are so strong and I pray that God continues to strengthen you even more in this hard time. Lots of hugs!

    Amy & Jordan

    Thank you so much, Kristy :) That means a lot

    Karina Bravo

    Your post brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of the photo I have with my grandmother at my wedding. I feel so fortunate to have it.

    It is a gift that you give a couple when you both capture their day, they just don't know it yet. The awesome picture of your beloved grandparents is also a gift that you didn't understand when it was taken and now you can appreciate its existence.

    I'm glad you have it to cherish and may it give you comfort and peace during this difficult time. My prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing.

    Amy & Jordan

    Beautifully said, Karina. Thanks so much.