I just finished baby Alexandre's portrait album. You can preview it here.
I was just talking to a friend who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at a local hospital, asking him about newborn photography there. It's my understanding that there are a few national photography companies who have cornered the market on hospital newborn photography and who have signed contracts with the institutions so no other photographers can work on their grounds. He said that he doesn't know whether the nursery has a photographer since he doesn't work in that department but that his unit has a photographer who takes portraits of babies who have passed away. I'd never heard of this. Never thought of it. What a difficult job!
So I did a little research and found out there is a national non-profit organization of photographers who volunteers to do such work: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It sounds a bit morbid at first but once I started reading their through their site it makes perfect sense. Parents want to remember their child and this is the only time to take professional portraits. The photos, like any other portraits (especially of loved ones who have since deceased) are memorials to the person pictured and are treasured by those who have survived them. I'm happy to see that this is volunteer work and that parents aren't being asked to pay for the portrait sessions in such difficult times (though, on the other hand, I started watching the television series "Six Feet Under" recently and they make good points that the bereavement business is a business and that they can't just give their services away to everyone who is experiencing loss). But I'm glad this is volunteer work. A baby's death is different from that of someone older, someone who's had more of a chance to live and whose loved ones have had a chance to get to know them and form memories of them. I'm interested in filling out the application to offer my photography services but such an emotionally taxing job requires me to think about it for a few days before I jump right in.
If you are interested, you can make a donation on their website. Click here.
Norma, my sister's grandmother-in-law, passed away recently. I was asked to go through photos from my sister's wedding and find a few images of Norma, one of which would be framed and displayed at her memorial service. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and her body had begun to give out on her so this photograph, from my sister's wedding shower, was the only one in my collection of snapshots where she was actually smiling, and that was because she was posing with her grandson, whom she loved dearly, and his soon-to-be new bride, whom she had also taken to quite fondly. I didn't want to send just a snapshot off for her memorial, though, so I touched up the photo a bit, cropped it to feature Norma, and added a simple background that compliments the soft colors she wore. Her memorial service is on Saturday and I hope she looks down in peace and happiness as those who love her celebrate her life.