In 2009 MMGY Global hired me to shoot lifestyle images for a resort in Pensacola, Florida. The images were to be used for their new black and white ad campaign.
Excited about the opportunity to shoot B&W, my crew and I arrived at the resort to find that the weather for the next week would be stormy and gray. However, the team and I agreed that since it was a black and white campaign, we might be able to be productive anyway, so we stuck to the shoot schedule. As it turned out, the weather wasn’t the only thing that didn’t go smoothly. The talent chosen for the shoot was not professional, as the client chose to use his family members rather than professional models. In addition, some of the local crew that we hired left little to be desired.
Nevertheless, I spent considerable time enjoying my work with the mom and daughter talent. My objective was to connect viewers emotionally to the resort thru story-telling with lifestyle images. I left feeling happy with my work and wiser about things not to repeat in the future. In the end, only a couple of the images were used in the ad campaign. I remember thinking what a shame it was to have wasted so many resources on such a limited out-come. But that was not the end of the story.
One day, I received a call from the Pensacola resort asking if I still had images from that shoot. I learned that the woman whom I had photographed with her little daughter had died, and the family was hoping to recover those precious photos that they found on my website. My heart was instantly touched. Being a mom of two young girls of similar age, I understood the family’s pain.
Searching through my archives, I discovered many images of the mom and daughter playing on the beach on that special day. I created a five minute slideshow with the photos trying to imagine how that daughter might feel as she re-lived that day on the beach with her mom. Miraculously, the music I selected as my hand rested on the mouse found itself. All the pieces seemed to fit together perfectly.
I am happy and gratified for that long forgotten shoot, knowing the real reason that it happened. What seemed to have been bad weather and unprofessional models became an opportunity to re-unite a mother and daughter through the magic of photography. The ad campaign was simply a means to an end. I am more determined than ever to remain focused on the visual story-telling while letting the outcome be determined by the glorious unseen hand that guides our way.
Here’s the slideshow. The music: Bountiful, Beautiful and Blissful is by Bachan Kaur.