Monday, September 13, 2010

I have the privilege of posting some words while Lynette is on vacation. My name is Heather Baker and I am a volunteer photographer for Soulumination. I have known Lynette for 11 years now. Each year she has been my family’s photographer starting with our wedding and now yearly photo shoots that include our two children. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and I started volunteering for Soulumination almost two years ago. I have keenly watched Lynette grow her non-profit while she mentored me as I started my own photography business.

I have always believed in capturing the moment with the camera. It has been a passion of mine for years and it even became clearer to me in January 2009 when my father, Cal MacDonald, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer. The news blindsided our family. My dad was 70 years old and was in the best shape of his life. Just four months prior we had summited Mt. Rainier after training for a year. My father took his diagnosis with grace. He was given a small window, but decided to shoot for the moon.

For the next 16 months I had the opportunity to spend an amazing amount of time with my dad. We talked, explored possibilities and prepared for the future. During this time he continued to teach me the art of patience, acceptance and to live in the moment. I was trying to work through my emotions; I was going to lose my father and when that day came this June I was able to look back at how he prepared me for his departure. He spoke freely about his disease and his future, frequently encouraging me to ask questions.

Lynette photographed our family twice during my dad’s journey through cancer. These images mean the world to me and they will always be treasured. I also pulled out my camera while my dad was on hospice and took lots of photos. These photos mostly included my children with my father. Making silly faces, big hugs and kisses. There were even tears when the time came to photograph my dad with my brother and my mom. To capture these photos is to capture the true spirit of a person. Something to remember them by, some comfort and smile to look back on, to know that your loved one is alright and in time things will be the same for you.

Lynette, who always thinks of others first, immediately asked if she could come and photograph my father’s memorial. We celebrated his life at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. As my father was a retired airline pilot it was the perfect location and Lynette with her talent was able to catch essence of the event. It was an evening of celebration and sharing great memories. It is bizarre to think of photographing a memorial, but these images will be a treasure for the family to share and remember him by.

When I get the phone call from Soulumination I immediately go into my “don’t think about yourself first“ mode. I do look at my schedule, make sure my kids have care and that my husband has things covered, but I don’t hesitate to shift things around. As one of the on call photographers I know the importance of these shoots and sometimes the timing can be a key part. So why do I photograph for Soulumination? I do it to give a family (a sister, a brother, a mom, a dad, a husband or a wife) the treasured images of loved ones. A photo that expresses the true beauty and spirit of special people in our lives.

Heather Baker – Soulumination Photographer