What a year it has been for the Shroyer family. It’s been full of heart ache and trials, joys and growth. At the end of 2015, we lost Mike. Ami’s husband, J Michael & Sadie’s father, and my dear friend. I’ve documented so many moments in this families life, mostly happy moments, sometimes painful ones. This latest photo shoot at their new home in High Point, NC was definitely the hardest family shoot I’ve ever done. Taking pictures of this amazing family with out their Dad just didn’t feel right. We all felt the hole that Mike left that day and in true Shroyer fashion, they chose to rise above the pain they felt to get photographed. Both Ami and I agree, there were far more “forced” smiles than normal and I doubt this will go down in their books as the best photo shoot ever, but it still had to happen for many reasons. Mostly because Ami & the kids were releasing a new album that they wrote over the past year called the Good Grief Project. It’s an amazing collection of original songs and covers that show their journey and their trust in God that he works all things for good. This family never ceases to inspire and amaze me. I’m so grateful to call them friends! Please check out the Good Grief Project at www.AmiShroyer.com.
You’ll notice that there were some genuinely beautiful moments in this photo shoot because these three can’t help but show their love for each other! Next time around I think a lot of the awkwardness will have faded and we can start a new way of photographing their love and life. I have never been more grateful for the gift of photography than I was when we realized Mike was gone, but we still had his photographs. Even tho he complained about how he looked at every photo shoot, even tho he’d joke with me that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of his kids anymore because every time they looked way too old, and even tho it always took longer than he wanted, he always LOVED the end result! Watching the slideshow at his memorial service solidified the truth that we NEED to be photographed, even if it’s not comfortable. The legacy it leaves behind is vastly more important than our comfort. It doesn’t matter what you look like right now, grab your loved ones, and make a photograph, and let them know how much you love them!
This past Sunday night, Ami & the kids has their music release party for the Good Grief Project. We celebrated Mike again and I know his heart is swelling with pride at the amazing job they did! #WeRise #Shroyer3