Now I have the honor of capturing families during their most difficult moments and preserving memories
of their little ones, giving back the priceless gift that had once been given to me.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Sometimes giving back is very personal. We all have various reasons for being involved in those nonprofit organizations we support. For me, I couldn't be more proud to be an Ambassador for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep because I'm a parent. The thought of losing a child is overwhelming, and while I can't say I know what a parent is feeling at that time of loss, I can imagine the pain and sadness.
In today's guest post by Virginia Dow, she hits a familiar chord for so many of the NILMDTS staff - she became a volunteer because of what a photographer did for her family in 2016, after losing two sons. But there's another very relevant part of her story - the process to get through her fears of being involved and becoming a volunteer.
I don't know Virginia, but I couldn't be more proud of her, and especially her ability to share her story, and success at being involved. There are so many of you in the industry with the heart, passion, and skill set to help families at their most challenging times.
February is Recruitment Month for NILMDTS. Here's an incredible way for you to give back with your camera. Click on the banner above or at the end of today's post for more information.
by Virginia Dow
Having someone come and give us the gift of photography when Larson and Emmett were born has meant so much to my family. Being able to include them visually on the walls of our home and in our family photos help us share the story of their lives, that however short, they still blessed us, they still have a purpose, and they still are members of our family.
I started my application to NILMDTS in August 2017, almost one year after Larson and Emmett had been welcomed into heaven. My original submission hadn’t been rejected; they asked for more low light, auxiliary lit images from my portfolio. Which is necessary because all the sessions I have now since done for NILMDTS have required auxiliary lighting.
I didn’t have many opportunities to shoot in that specific setting before, so I felt discouraged when they asked for more than what I had already given. So I let the idea fall to the wayside, which was easy to do, I’m ashamed to admit. I was caring for a 3 year old, my photography business was busy, and then I had a baby. And then my husband deployed. And then we moved. All the stability that I had, vanished.
Currently trying to reestablish my photography in a new place, I struggled (still struggling,) but a colleague gave me the motherhood memoir project. To capture moms doing their mom thing or snippets of what makes them a mom and this relit my fire and brought the opportunity to do some auxiliary lighting for my application. With willing and forced participants (my living children,) I had these images to now submit to the review committee.
But I still put it off. I had what they asked for and I ignored it. I didn’t want to feel like I missed the mark again, but God had different plans. Sending me little reminders that I needed to do it, until He put something in front of my face I couldn’t ignore. A letter from NILMDTS for a monetary donation, but in the upper right hand corner of the letter,
"I'm sorry. We don't have a photographer in your area."
Ok, God. I hear you loud and clear.
So, I finally did it. Got over my fear of rejection and sent the email with my 5 new images for review. And was told I’d hear back soon.
Finally, 3 weeks later, I received an email saying I have been accepted and I could start my training! Not a lot of people knew I was doing this, but I thank those who did and were thinking and praying for me. It was very much appreciated and now I have the honor of capturing families during their most difficult moments and preserving memories of their little ones, giving back the priceless gift that had once been given to me on September 19, 2016.
About Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
NILMDTS is seeking volunteer photographers and digital retouch artists (DRAs) to volunteer. Even during the pandemic, many hospitals look to NILMDTS photographers as essential workers. If you are comfortable or able to go into hospitals, we need photographers to capture the only moments parents will spend with their precious babies. NILMDTS is also in need of DRAs where you can volunteer from your home. Since the pandemic, retouching sessions have increased by 132%. This includes medical providers and bereaved parents submitting photographs for retouching.
Since 2005, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep has gifted complimentary remembrance portraits to parents experiencing the death of a baby. For many, these priceless images serve as a critical step in the healing process.
Having done over 40,0000 complimentary portrait sessions, NILMDTS works with photographers and digital retouch artists from around the world to offer grieving families the gift of photography to honor and validate the legacy of their precious babies.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.