Lauren | Home of the Brave


I met Lauren through my cousin Lorene. Their friendship was forged from the shared experience of a profound, tragic loss.

Kalei, Lorene’s only daughter, was killed instantly in a head-on highway collision. Jarrett, Lauren’s older brother, died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm when he was 13 years of age and Lauren was 11.

I have met Lauren only twice. The first time at a dinner party hosted by Lorene and once again to take her portrait for Home of the Brave. Lauren and I have never talked about the death of her brother. There are some things you simply can’t explain to those of us who haven’t experienced that kind of trauma.

When I saw this negative on the contact sheet I was lamenting the fact that Lauren’s head was turned away from my camera. I had broken a cardinal rule of portrait photography – ensure you capture the subject’s eyes!

Still, I felt this photograph had something to tell me. Something too complex for words, too sad to be related in a conversation.

And then I saw it.

With a single gesture Lauren had shown me the sacredness of her brother’s story.

And that was all I needed to know.

Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400


This entry was posted in Home of the Brave.


  1. dmiller509 May 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    Thank you Sandy. It takes me a long time to write each of these posts simply because it is such an emotional topic. I feel I owe it to you folks to be as respectful as I possibly can. It takes many drafts before I get it right. Thank you for your feedback. It means a lot to me to know that you (in particular) are happy with the result. Take care. Danny

  2. dmiller509 May 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Thanks Val. I’m trying to ensure these portraits (and the experience of shooting them) is as authentic as possible. It helps to clear away the “noise” and makes the writing “easier” – and very gratifying. Thank you for the feedback Val. So appreciated. Take care. Danny

  3. dmiller509 May 22, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Thanks Christophe. I have grown to love this portrait of Lauren. If you taught me anything it was how to appreciate the road less traveled. Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it. Take care. Danny

  4. Christophe Dillinger May 22, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    I am not sure that there are cardinal rules anymore 🙂 After all, if you all were to adhere to them, the world would be full of images that look exactly the same. er… hold on… 🙂

  5. Val MacLean May 22, 2016 at 2:38 am #

    I love this series Danny! The way you articulate grief is so insightful!

  6. Sandy May 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    Amazing photo Danny you are extremely talented and how you discribe the photography of the photo just lovely. Thank you from
    Sandy (Lauren’s Mom)

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