Portraits: missy and her mentor

Green_Bay_Portrait_Mentor_Family_Mother_Studio_Green_Bay_PhotographyWe all need someone by our side to guide us, inspire us, and challenge us to be our best.  We may not use the word mentor, but that is what it means. Missy called me a month or two ago; she was boarding a plane for a family vacation and had been struck with an idea. She had recently heard that her mentor, Lorraine was planning to retire and move to New Orleans to be with her daughter. It was in this life-changing moment, that she realized (as we often do) how few photos she had of the two of them together. She wanted something substantial to hold on to – a symbol of their relationship.

Lorraine was one of Missy’s instructors in the masters program at UWO. She began every class reading from a novel marked with paperclip bookmarks. Her approach was slow and concentrated, and it tested Missy’s patience. The way Lorraine taught was a lesson in itself, something beyond the subject matter. Lorraine discussed reinventing herself, and creating the life she led with a purpose and Missy was inspired. She describes Lorraine as “a woman grounded in her faith, her marriage, her family.” When Missy came to turning points and moments of great decision, she turned to Lorraine. Through Lorraine Missy could see her ideas as concrete goals with steps that made her feel capable and sure of her decisions. Future life events brought them even closer together.

It’s funny how easy it can be to forget the value of a photograph. All day long we are Instagramming our food and Snapchatting our pedicures (guilty on both counts) and that can make us blind to how much an image can really matter. Earlier this week I stopped in at my grandparents’ house, and casual conversation led to an evening looking through photographs from the mid 1800s forward – portraits of our family. In one image I saw my great-great-great-grandma surrounded by her children, baby on her knee, and all I could think was wow.  Someone so long ago made the decision to gather the family together and have this beautiful image made so that I could hold it in my hands 150 years later. This was done for me. Kind of a powerful thing.

It was my pleasure to be a part of creating an image that would tell the story of Lorraine and Missy, an image that signifies the life-changing events that brought them together, strengthened their bond, and leads them on to what comes next.

Leave a Reply