Nobody expects to receive the kind of news that all of those who are involved in these awards either received or had to share. In my case, it came from my best friends Siobhán and David, whose daughter had died just before the birth.
After the initial shock, trying to get to grips with the situation, arranging for our priest to come and finally being able to go to them myself to take them in my arms, they asked me if I could take some pictures of their darling Grace.
I am not a professional photographer, but I did my best to capture the beauty of this tiny perfect baby that never had a chance to feel her parents’ embrace. I knew then as I do now, that these were the most important pictures I have taken in my life or ever will take.
The hardest thing to do however, was to sit at my desk and edit these pictures, hour after hour, looking at this terrible loss in minute detail – I went through more than one box of tissues since I just couldn’t stop crying. It was indeed the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Most of the finished pictures are black & white and I am the only one who has ever seen all of them in full colour, and somehow that made this tragedy so much more real.
These days, there is a network of volunteers who take and edit photographs like these for grieving parents, but at the time no such service existed here.
Through all the work that Siobhán and David have done, they have shared Grace´s story with thousands of people and I am glad of my tiny bit of contribution to this, but most of all, they now have a lasting memory of their beautiful daughter.
What Others Have Said
“How do I thank the friend who, on hearing that my daughter had died, didn’t hesitate to get in touch with our priest and arrange for him to come and see us, who didn’t blink when I asked if she wouldn’t mind taking some photos of us and our darling Grace, who suggested trying some shots that we were too grief stricken to imagine and spent hours editing the photos to make them look as amazing as possible. I can’t imagine the emotional toll it took on her. A friend who is handy with a camera. We don’t have our daughter, but thanks to Christiane we have some amazing photos of her.”