Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yesterday's Training Seminar

Yesterday I attended a NILMDTS training seminar in Portland, with renowned professional photographer Kirk Kief. The first hour or two was quite emotional. Kleenex made a fortune off us! It was relieving that we could develop professionally, and still be in a safe place appropriate to be emotional. When we're on the job, we can't and we wont become emotional, but when we were surrounded by each other, and not by clients, it was okay.

First, we watched the Today show segment on NILMDTS, as the hairs all over my body stood straight up. Then, stood up a big, brawny man who incidently is the youth pastor of this church the seminar was being held in. He told us that Elle (the woman I shadowed) took portraits of his daughter not even a year ago. He fell apart, this strong, muscular man, he fell apart right in front of us as he spoke about what a blessing these photos are to him and his wife. Although their daughter didn't live longer than a day, those portraits are proof that she existed. Without the services of NILMDTS, families would go home without their baby, and memories would eventually fade. But this man can share their child with the rest of their families and friends, and generations to follow. She will always be remembered. She is a part of their family.

It's hard to imagine that i've only shadowed one session, I haven't yet done one solo. But still, this has become a mission for me, and important part of my life. I always wondered if there would ever be a charity that would really pull on the strings of my heart, and this is the one. People often say, "I don't know how you could do this", and I think to myself, "How could I not do this?". It is an honor being invited into a time when a family is in the greatest pain they will ever feel, and as a photographer, we can commemorate those memories with grace, with peace, and with love.

The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep foundation has existed for only three years, but is now in 12 countries, with nearly 4,000 photographers worldwide. If you want to learn more, please go to http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/ or email me at dididaniellephoto@comcast.net. You can see the segment profiling NILMDTS on The Today Show on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=MlKhrCORF8w


Anonymous said...

I would have been a mess! I wanted to go to this so badly but I wasn't able to this time. I'm glad you were able to go.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I agree this is a great service you can provide to those who have lost someone. Keep up the good work trooper and I will chat with you soon.

Margaret Leinweber said...

I'm so proud of you! Love Me!!

Anonymous said...

That is very powerful, and meaningful.. I really take my hat off to you for giving of yourself in this very special way. It takes someone special (like yourself), to help families capture their family member forever. I think it's really really really cool that you are doing this !! Love Uncle Lance