This past Tuesday, I photographed a dear friend's husband's funeral. I can write about the technical aspects of the shoot (no flash, high ISO, wide apertures, photo-journalistic approach, etc.) but instead I will write about how I feel.
In planning this with my friend - our discussion revolved around the taboo of photography during funerals, respecting and allowing others to mourn in piece, etc. We talked about an article where famous people have photographers at their funerals... so why not us? This is a time when family is gathered and it is beautiful. My friend shared that in his last moments on Earth, he described being with God and seeing all the colors and being embraced by love. This would be a celebration of life. So instead of the subdued and cold color palette that I originally suggested, we would go with bright and alive.
127 of my images made it to the gallery*. I wanted to tell a story with it and convey how I felt. It starts with dull colors showing isolated objects like his lone motorcycle helmet but slowly changing into more. They had a painting of his on display. It had LOVE written on it. I remember looking at it and then seeing people at play in the background. The pastor talked about how in life, this was a person who taught us all about love...and I guess he was even after. After that photo, most of the rest of them had people showing each other love. The colors got brighter. We see smiles and kind human touches.
At the end, we were outside and they released about a hundred colorful balloons. They were beautiful colored balloons reaching out to a bright blue sky and heavenly white clouds. The floated up and while doing so - it instilled this feeling of hope and love. Thinking about it now, I have a small hint of what he felt like at the end... covered in colors and surrounded by love.
People were sad because they missed Bill. But I saw more laughs and joys there too. There was loving words and song. There were warm hugs. Hands were held. Faces were high and smiling.
It was beautiful.
*This gallery can be seen under Home - Events - Celebration of Life (2014)