This amazing family came and enjoyed a portrait experience with us. Their story is incredible. To think our experience helped them celebrate what they had overcome and the incredible bonds that had formed is genuinely so special to us. Please take the time to read their special story
In September 2020 I was given a voucher for a family photoshoot, for my birthday. This experience and the resulting images turned out to be one of the best things we have ever done but it was of particular significance to us because it represented how far we have come as a family in the last 9 years.
In November 2011 at the age of 49 and whilst out shopping with our then 8 year old daughter, my husband Nick had a stroke, was rushed to hospital and our lives changed forever on that day.
There followed several weeks in hospital, an emergency dash up to London in an ambulance when things became very serious and at one stage we were in the dreaded “relatives room” and Nick was in Intensive Care. Thankfully, he fought back and after many months in a wonderful rehabilitation centre he came home – which is when our journey really began.
Fast forward 9 years. What the world sees is that Nick’s left arm doesn’t work and he has a funny walk because his left leg has no sensation below the knee – he sometimes uses a stick and a wheelchair for long distances. But the stroke also affected his ability to process information, his memory, problem solving, inferencing and some facets of his personality including his confidence. He also developed epilepsy as a result of the stroke.
Of course there have been long term effects on me and my daughter Laura too. We are both very anxious especially about anything to do with health. I often feel I am on constant “alert”, she has panic attacks – both of us have seen a therapist. We both lack confidence. But because of what we have been through together we have a very close bond and are a great “team”.
Things can never be as they were “before” – but we have got through a lot of difficult times and we’re still a family – just with a different “normal”.
So to the photoshoot. I hate myself in photos. So does Laura. Nick is always conscious of his slight facial droop. But the present was bought mainly because we acquired a dog at the beginning of the year and Laura thought some “family with dog” pics would be lovely. Our dog – Archie – has been our best ever purchase and has brought us laughter, fun , distraction and joy throughout lockdown. We all adore him.
To my surprise, a couple of weeks before the shoot, Laura (who had booked it) received a call from Adam. They were on the phone for about 45 minutes and she told me he had chatted with her about the relationships within the family and a little bit of the background to our story. At the time I thought that was quite impressive but I didn’t realise how much of a difference it would make.
We were all a bit apprehensive, but when we met Adam a couple of weeks later, it really did feel as if he knew us already. In social situations I am often worried about Nick getting tired or not being at ease but Adam was brilliant without making an issue of it. He ran the shoot so that Nick had plenty of breaks, was able to be seated for his shots, didn’t have to walk far. Adam was lovely and funny and made the whole experience incredibly relaxing and fun. We were there for several hours but it didn’t feel like that at all. It was one of the best experiences we have had as a family as we were all so relaxed.
A couple of weeks later we went back to view the photos and try to cut them down to a manageable number. When we saw them we were just blown away. Adam had completely captured us – our family and the way we relate to each other – and Archie! There were actually a few tears. I don’t hate myself in Adam’s photos – I love the way I am looking at Nick and laughing with Laura. Laura loves them too – and Adam has been very clever with the photos of Nick – even Nick himself likes them!
I don’t know if it would have been the same with another photographer. I think Adam is quite special in the way that he really wants to understand the story behind the subjects and then somehow manages to capture that in the images.
I never thought we would be able to have such amazing pictures which completely capture “us”. When we look at them we all smile – and it makes us remember the brilliant day at the photo shoot. It makes me feel very proud because we all look gorgeous and happy and we’ve come such a long way in 9 years.