Three Generations of Women: Philadelphia Portrait Session

May 25, 2016

I was recently reflecting on how intentional God has been in my life.  People, places, timing: He’s able to order our steps perfectly.  I met Teena in the Spring of 2011 when I was still a high school teacher that was organizing parents to form a Parent/Teacher Association.  Her daughter, Jazmine was a rising sophomore,  a high honors student, and involved in a number of extra-curricular activities.  Eventually, Teena and I lost touch.  I left education altogether to pursue motherhood and full time photography. However, she remembered me and contacted me last summer to take her head shots for the cover of a book she’d recently written highlighting her journey as a single Christian mother raising her daughter.

When I arrived at the shoot, I noticed she donned a shorter cut than what I’d remembered during our interactions at school.  As the session unfolded, she began to share her testimony.  During the summer of 2014, right before Jazmine began her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, she was diagnosed with b cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.  At what was supposed to be one of the most joyous times in her life, she was suddenly faced with one of the biggest tests of her faith.  What followed was six months of chemotherapy treatment.  Today, she is 100% cancer free and her face reflects the joy, thankfulness, and resolve of a woman deeply rooted in her faith and love for God and her family.

Thus, it was even more meaningful for me to photograph three generations of women in Teena’s family.  That Saturday afternoon in Teena’s cozy living room, I met Sarah, Teena’s mother for the first time and let me tell you that mother was READY to take pictures.  Ok!  It didn’t take much to know that these women share a close knit bond as evidenced by their constant laughter and the joy felt walking into Teena’s home.  Teena is Sarah’s only child and Jazmine is Teena’s only child.  On the end table, I noticed a black and white photography in a silver frame.  It was Sarah’s mother, Agnes who will turn 90 in September.  Although she wasn’t able to physically take part in the shoot, we included her framed image, and instantly, four generations of women were represented.  Absolutely amazing.

Jazmine is now a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is still the confident, bold, and intelligent young woman I knew her to be high school.  In addition to carrying a full course load, she has started a Christian clothing line called “Rep Yo Faith”.  I am thankful that our paths crossed again and that I was able to capture these moments for them.

Best,

YS

Makeup Artist: Ashley Chambliss

 

 

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