Jackson fought his way through five months of life, with a will to live like no other I've seen before. This handsome boy overcame so many obstacles in his short life, and I know that it's because he drew strength from his courageous and loving family. I photographed Jackson at six weeks old, and at that point he had already beaten the odds to be where he was. He continued on that path, though it wasn't easy, for the next few months. Then, one day, I got a message from his mama, saying that his days were limited, and they wanted to capture images of him as the handsome five month old boy that he had grown into, so we met the next day for an impromptu photo shoot of this special boy, so much more grown than the last time I had seen him. Stephanie really only had one request, and that was to try to capture an image of his blue eyes. This may not seem like a big request, but for Jackson, this could have been more difficult because he was just so tired at that point. Well, someone was really looking down on us that day because Jackson surprised us all by, not only opening his beautiful blue eyes, but also by smiling and laughing; the most beautiful sight and sound in the world. Those are two things that he had not done prior to the evening before his session. It really was a sight to see, and so awesome to experience the joy that the whole family felt when he lit up.
His session continued on in that fashion, and we captured countless images to treasure forever. Sadly, I soon received the message that I had so dreaded. About a week after his session, Jackson James passed away in the arms of his mama. I was still working on his photos at that time, and it was hard to not feel guilty that I was still able to see his face, in such detail. I was still seeing the perfect curve of his nose, his sweet, toothless smile, and the small fleck of gold that dotted the beautiful blue of his right eye. It was an emotional time, finishing up his images, but it was also so fulfilling to know that we were able to capture all of those little details to look back on. I smiled so much while working on these images. Just seeing the whole family laughing together as we all experienced Jackson's rare laughter, is something that I will never forget.
Knowing Jackson and his family has been more than a blessing to me. It has changed me in ways I cannot describe. And, though I am sad to have to say goodbye to such a handsome, strong, and resilient boy, I am also forever grateful that I was fortunate enough to know him, in his short time here with us. Goodnight, sweet boy. You will always be in our hearts. <3