Six months after Bella was stillborn I flew to Tampa, FL to attend a workshop to learn the ins and outs of running a successful portrait photography business. As we introduced ourselves that first day, I was the mood crasher. As most of the women in that room shared how their living children were the inspiration behind wanting to photograph I got to tell that room full of family photography business hopefuls "Hello, my name is Beryl, I want to learn photography, and I am here because my baby died." I went on to tell them about our angel Bella, my inspiration.
Amazingly, as that weekend of learning began to unfold two more of the 12 women at our photography seminar approached me. Told me how moved they were by Bella's story. How they too experienced their own losses. How they had never told anyone. How no one wanted to listen.
Most women keep it to themselves. Most women suffer in silence. Most women don't know where to find healing. From Miscarriage. From Stillbirth. From Infant Loss.
That's the mind-blowing statistic. That's the number of women who experience the loss of a child in their lifetime. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea or hot cocoa if that's your thing), and stay here awhile. Go and read the story of our Bella.
After losing Bella due to a series of complications, I scoured the internet looking for bereavement resources that spoke to me. I searched for a community that could relate to my pain. I needed someone to talk to who wouldn't mind if I needed to talk about the pain of losing Bella all day every day. I longed for an audience who could understand the source of the imagery I was creating. I came up with nothing.
I learned photography on my own, as I grieved, and slowly grew from amateur to professional. Over the course of the past 4 years I've built a successful photography business from the ground up and I vowed that one day, when the stars aligned, I would create a photography experience exactly like the one I was looking for after our loss.
Dedicated to my daughter Bella, my muse and guide, I believe that every woman deserves the opportunity to seek creative means to healing.
I knew that I wanted to incorporate photography into my grief journey, but I didn't know how. I took a chance on Illuminate, and I can say that without a doubt it was exactly what I was looking for. Each one of our assignments has been perfect for connecting what I am feeling with what I am seeing through the lens. I feel like I have such a better grasp on how to use photography as a creative outlet.
I was worried that I didn't have enough photography know-how to stay afloat in class. Now, I feel creative, I'm looking forward to learning more and more about photography, and I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying doing something again.
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