It will be almost a year since my brother committed suicide.
I immediately turned to photography to help get me through this year.
I started a series entitled Vets with Pets where I offer veterans a free portrait session and one free digital image per pet. It really took off. And it truly helped me a lot mentally and emotionally too.
I was able to connect with fellow veterans, meet new people and get lots of slobbery kisses along the way.
But after six months into the series, it really started to wear on me. When veterans asked why I was doing this for free, I felt obliged to share the truth, and not some sugar-coated reasoning. Even if the veterans didn’t ask why, after sweeping away the last of the dog fur alone in my studio, I couldn’t escape the why.
My brother Greg was an amazing human being and I miss him every damn day. It’s sad to say, but I think about him more now that he’s gone than when he was still kicking and annoying us sisters in his loving way. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wishing that I would have called him more often, been gentler to him in my replies about his never-ending girls sagas, and plain ol’ reminded him of how much I loved him because of who he was and not who he was trying to be.
The remembering of Greg and why I started Vets with Pets, it broke me. It made me not want to shoot, not want to remember that I lost my brother.
So I took a break.
But with Greg’s suicide date a week away, and after months of missing that human interaction and the furry love of the pets, I’ve decided to stop taking a break.
The during moments of photography…specifically Vets with Pets…are ALWAYS rewarding. I feel connected again to those around me. I feel honored to be able to provide wonderful images for my fellow veterans. I feel the love (literally and figuratively) from the awesome pets that come into the studio. All of those durings are ridiculously gratifying.
If you are a veteran reading this, please hit me up for your free portrait session. I would love to meet you.I would love to meet your companion that gets you through the crappy times of life. I would be nothing less than honored to be allowed to stick a camera in your face.
Photoshoots are starting up this Saturday March 11th!
Email me at Marla@MarlaPhoto.com to snag a spot!