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 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400