The 4 Times Photography Saved Me

* 3 min. read

I use photography as a tool to help me heal.

It seems like I’m only able to produce some of my best, most heartfelt photographs during the times when I’m in personal crisis.

This is something that many people may not know about. Although most days I’m fighting to put out the daily fires of life, treading water while I feel lost at sea – there are a few sessions that were absolutely pivotal in helping me maintain some sort of sanity while everything going on around me had me on the verge of shattering.

1. Separation

In early 2012, my husband and I separated for the first time. He moved out and I found myself as a newly single mother with a 3 year old toddler and a newborn infant.

Photography saved me!

A month or two later, I became an LLC and opened for business, trying to find a way to utilize my passion for photography to put food on the table.

2. Death

On June 4, 2016 my daughter’s God Father passed away tragically. It was quite a shock and I simply couldn’t deal. But just two days later, Liliana Quinn was born and I strummed up every ounce of strength that I could to go to the hospital to keep my commitment of shooting her Fresh 48 Session.

I was an emotional wreck but Photography Saved Me.

I poured my heart and soul into creating one of the most meaningful films ever. Well at least to myself and her family. I cried a lot through the editing process, but in the end it was freeing.

3. Near Brush with Death

In late August 2017, the Restmeyer family welcomed their fourth and their last baby into their family. They hired me to shoot their Fresh 48 Session which went off without a hitch. But several days later, my 96 year old grandmother was admitted to the hospital.

She had an infection, was in septic shock and her organs were all shutting down. We were literally told that she only had hours to a few days left to live.

Emotionally I was a complete wreck. This was the woman who helped raise me – I grew up in her house!

I was not ready to say goodbye and thankfully I didn’t have to. She miraculously recovered but of course this delayed me a bit with editing the session. But again, I poured my heart an soul into creating the most BEAUTIFUL keepsake for their family.

Again, crafted mostly through tears but Photography Saved Me.

4. Separation (again)

On November 11, 2017 I had the honor of donating my photography services to shoot a The Gold Hope Project fighter session for a little boy named James who is currently battling cancer.

There were quite a few hiccups with trying to get his session planned and executed but with gumption and the kindness of one stranger in particular, I was able to shoot his session.

Little did anyone know at the time, was the fact that less than 24 hours prior, my husband of 10+ years had moved out of our family home. Emotionally I was drained, physically I was exhausted from trying to get my photography business off the ground, while freelancing for another company + wearing all the other hats that were expected of me.

Photography Saved Me by allowing me to give the purest part of my soul to another during their time of need.

Of course there are plenty of other times that photography has saved me. It’s hard to list each individual case. But these are the four that stick out to me and are most memorable.

Every time I pick up my camera, it is with intent. I press the shutter because I am trying to capture the world the way that I see beauty contrasting ALL of my constant pain.

Photography saves be by giving me a voice I otherwise would not be able to share so willingly and for that I am forever grateful.

“For Me, Photography is to place head, heart and eye along the same line of sight. It is a way of life.”

~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Author: Eboni Rivera

I’m a hugger (shaking hands feels too formal). I began learning photography back in 1996, mixing chemicals and developing film in a darkroom. I've spent the past 20+ years observing and learning about different genres but Documentary Family Photography is where I feel the most at home. The best photographs are ones with a real story behind it – the kind that immediately brings you back to that specific time and place, no matter how long ago it happened. I'm a Memory Preservationist. For me, it’s all about reminiscing and feeling nostalgia when you look at photos that make them so incredibly special.

What's on your mind? Leave a Reply

  • That’s big honest writing Eboni. And I thank you for sharing such intimate details of you. Certainly made me think.