Perhaps my most important photo shoot ever as well as my most sobering and one on which I worked harder than I ever worked on any commercial assignment. It was also the greatest compliment I've ever received. And I can't show any photos and frankly wouldn't if I could. It's also one which made me cry (for real).
I received a call a couple of weeks ago from a lady who said she is a cancer patient and would like some artistic nude photos for her husband. It turned out, she is terminal with about six months left to live if the disease progresses as expected. While her body already showed the signs of the disease, she wanted photos before her deterioration progressed. I postponed another session and shot her the following weekend.
She said she had spent a week surfing the net for figurative photographers and selected me because she believed I "could do the best" with what she "had left". They drove about 300 miles for the session. That part was the great compliment.
To say the least, the shoot was a difficult one for the obvious reasons of working with a cancer damaged body, but it was also emotionally difficult for me because of the import of the session. Though damaged, she was still a very beautiful lady. She was obviously on extreme medications and had to take frequent breaks for her oxygen tank and simply to rest.
She was in her mid 30s and had been married since her high school graduation to, in her words, her "lifetime sweetheart". Her husband was present during the shoot and was totlly supportive of what ws for her, a very strenuous effort. Both said this was her idea, something she wanted to do for him. Now I'm far from a P'shop expert, but during this past couple of weeks, my investment in P'shop paid for itself. I was able to bring back some shrunken limbs and breasts, fill in some shrunken facial features and so forth. It made me really wish I had more skill in that area, but the results were good.
I mailed them about 20 8x10 prints. In addition, for those Mac users out there, I ordered an 'ibook', a hardback book, for them with about 30 images, which should be delivered to them sometime this week. Then today, I decided I could not profit from their misfortune and shreded their check. They have enough problems without adding my costs to their already overwhelming medical expenses after medical insurance. Her husband will more than likely have to sell their home before it is over. But he told me later in a phone call, that he didnlt care about tht, that he wouldn't want it anymore, after she is gone.
Anyway, I have not been around much since that shoot, mainly because I have not been in the mood to post on a forum. I've had a hard time thinking about anything other than this really remarkable couple.