I was there when they vowed “In sickness and in health… ’til death do us part.”
One lovely October day in 2012, as Brian and I were photographing a wedding reception, we noticed a super cute couple having an absolute blast on the dance-floor. By the way they were looking at each other, we could tell they were both head over heels for one another. She caught the bouquet. He caught the garter. He walked up to me to show me pictures of his girlfriend on his phone, because he couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. When he introduced her to us, we discovered she had attended the same university as Brian and I, that her last name was Powell as well, and that she was from Pennsylvania just like Brian. About a year later, we got a phone-call from John Craig, asking if Brian could photograph his proposal to Alexandra from inside of a shark tank at the Atlanta Aquarium, lol! The Aquarium wasn’t super thrilled about that idea, but we DID get to photograph their maternity photos when they found out they were expecting their son Johnny, and their wedding a year later! Over the last 4 years, we’ve traded having each other over for dinner too many times to count, and have stayed up way too late on just as many occasions talking around dining room tables. Their son Johnny prays for Avonlea to stay healthy, and Violet thinks Johnny is just the greatest. We don’t clean our houses when we know we’re getting together. We have been known to shop together for the ingredients we will use while cooking and eating together later that evening.
These are friends who truly do life with us, and naturally we were terrified when they called us 3 weeks ago to tell us that John had found a lump under his tongue, and that doctors were concerned. In the past 3 weeks, the mass has more than doubled in size, even with John water-fasting to try and slow the growth of the tumor. One CT scan, two biopsies, an exploratory surgery, two mis-diagnoses and a PET scan later, John and Alexandra finally have an answer.
John has cancer: an NUT carcinoma, to be exact.
I shed quite a few tears as I watched them receive the diagnosis LIVE on Facebook, on their page The Candid Craigs! The doctor explained to them, on the video, that the specifics of John’s case is one of only about 100 cases in recorded medical history. The statistics for survival are extremely low, and the average survival rate is about 9 months.
A week ago, we got them all dressed up, knowing that surgery, reconstructions and aggressive drugs were likely in their near future, and met up at Landsford Canal for a “My Forever Valentine” emergency mini session! Alexandra and I had been planning a surprise shoot for John for Valentines Day for several weeks before the tumor appeared. But when the word “cancer” began being spoken aloud, we put the pedal to the metal and bumped up their session date. It was emotional session, and the right side of John’s face and jaw were extremely enlarged from the tumor. We posed them purposefully, to hide the swelling in some shots, but highlight the area in others. A few tears may have been shed, but there is so much beauty in the vulnerability these two are so brave enough to share with the world through these images.
And that vulnerability does not stop here. PLEASE go Like and Follow their Facebook page, The Candid Craigs! Watch their story all the way from the beginning. You can also support them financially by donating to their crowd-funding HERE. John and Alexandra own their own business, and will need to take weeks or maybe even months away from work to focus on the aggressive treatment approach doctors are recommending. They have spent the last several weeks evaluating ALL potential treatment options: Cancer Centers of America, holistic facilities in Mexico such as CHIPSA and Oasis of Hope, and have decided that the cancer is just progressing too quickly to waste any more time. John has been admitted to CMC Main for the time being to begin chemo and to allow surgeons there to begin planning a major surgery to remove part of his jaw and rebuild it.
Please support our clients-turned-dear-friends, John and Alexandra (and their 3-year-old son Johnny), by following and sharing their journey on social media, and donating if you can! And lastly, enjoy a few of our favorite images of John and Alexandra.
A few months ago, Brian and I were talking with my mom and she mentioned a cute young-married couple who’d been coming to her church community group. She was told us an abbreviated story of their wedding day, which made us immediately want to meet them and take their picture 😉 Walt and Kimberly’s wedding in May of 2013 took place in Oklahoma on the day devastating tornados touched down, ravaging the area and destroying homes and lives. Many of their friends and family were quite simply unable to get to the wedding due to the chaos ensuing around them, and their wedding photographer was forced to cancel on them the morning of the wedding due to the dangerous storms. Walt and Kimberly decided not to let this ruin their big day- they waited until their pastor was able to come, after the tornadoes had done their worst, and they were married at 10:30pm that night. The were unable to have the lovely vintage-inspired reception they had planned, unable share the moment with many of the family and friends they’d hoped to share their special day with, and unable to walk away from their day with any professional photos.
We just knew that we had to meet them and do what we could to give them some beautiful images that captured the vision they had held for their wedding day! The ceremony was supposed to have taken place in a beautiful garden, so we arranged a session at McGill Rose Garden. We reached out to our wonderful former-bride, Molly, of River Kiss Weddings who provided us with an adorable vintage table-scape from her extensive collection of vintage rentals! We also asked hair and makeup extraordinaire Rebekah McCann (Hair and Makeup by Rebekah) to give Kimberly the wedding-day look she had dreamed of for her big day! Brian and I finagled a bouquet, boutonniere and centerpiece inspired by Kimberly’s original wedding-day designs (so give the florals some grace, okay? lol… the shoot was the week of Mother’s Day, so we knew all of our florist-friends would be insanely busy)! Everything came together so sweetly, and we are so honored to have had the opportunity to get to know these two better as we captured these images of them! Enjoy a bunch of our favorites of Walt and Kimberly!
Gown | David’s Bridal
Bow-tie & Suspenders | H&M
Hair & Makeup | Rebekah McCann
Venue | McGill Rose Garden
Vintage Rentals | River Kiss Weddings
So… funny story. Last fall, I got a random email from Corey Potter, a wedding photographer who shoots with his wife, Ashley, in Columbia and owner of Corey Potter- Photographer. In his email he said, “I’ve heard great things about you and after looking at your website, I feel like our styles are somewhat similar. We would love to hang out sometime to get to know you.” And thus began our friendship with the Potters, haha! We had dinner with them a few weeks after Corey contacted us, and we’ve enjoyed getting to know them ever since! Back in December we met up with Corey and Ashley to take some photos of them for some re-vamping of there website. With all of the weddings we had to work on at the time, we had not a moment to pick some to put up on the blog… until now! Enjoy these fun shots of our styled couples’ shoot with the Potters : )