Atlanta Photographer | The Messina Family

So Much to Love

At times, it can be easy to get wrapped up in a routine of paid shoots, editing, blogging, keeping track of social media outlets, marketing, and publication submissions that we sometimes lose site of the fact that our “product” is so much more than just a photograph. I’m ashamed to admit that there are instances when it feels as though an invisible lock is over my camera, and the only key to open it must be accompanied with an account name and routing number. Upon my return from California, I began feeling a need to try and use my photography in a way that serves a greater purpose than just another paycheck. This all sounded fantastic, however I had absolutely no idea what it really meant or where to start…

I have known Beth for quite sometime. We attended school together, and like most of our past schoolmates, we go our separate ways in the world and keep track of one-another through news-feeds and Facebook status updates. I remember seeing a particular post from Beth that immediately caught my attention. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and was about to begin the grueling journey of chemotherapy. With every progress update I found myself longing to help out, but how much can we really do?

It wasn’t until Beth posted a picture of herself smiling ear-to-ear while sporting her new hair due that an idea finally came to mind. I was so moved by the happiness, strength, and courage that shined like a beam of light from the image. I couldn’t get over how confident and strong she looked; it was if she was telling the world, “Don’t worry guys, I’ve totally got this”.

I immediately contacted her asking if she would be willing to allow me to take some portraits of her, not to necessarily document the battle she was fighting, but instead give her and her family a way to always remember how a family’s love, combined with faith and inner-strength, can help someone conquer anything within their path. I was a bit nervous as I had no idea what her response would be, however I was insanely pleased to hear that she thought it was a great idea, and wanted to include her family in the shoot as well!  I also learned that one of her most cherished photos of her Mother was taken while she was going through chemo, and she loved the idea of her daughters having the same; I’m not going to lie, so did I…

We seriously couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening to do the shoot; we were truly blessed with great light and smiling faces. It was such a pleasure getting to meet Beth’s fiancee, Dylan and their two beautiful daughters. I think Becca and I talked for days about how much we enjoyed our evening together; we had an absolute blast!

I’m so in love with how these images turned out and I will always cherish them; I can only hope that they’ll serve an even bigger purpose for Beth and her family. I firmly believe that as photographers, we need to continuously reflect on the power of a captured memory, and we should never stop striving to find new ways to share this gift as often as possible.

Thanks again Beth for being such an inspiration to all of us, and for allowing Becca and I to spend the evening with you, Dylan, and your two beautiful little ones. We send all of our love and support your way and look forward to hearing more good news throughout your journey.



Audio:  “The Truest Faith” – Korallreven

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Noi - Joe,
What a beautiful thing to do for the family! The session brings tears to my eyes remember what my aunt had to go through early 2012 from breast cancer. We don’t have professional photos of her and I wish we did. Thank you for your heart behind it all!!!

beth messina - I will always treasure not only the pictures but the evening we spent taking them, it was so fun, and a joy to meet becca, the girls loved her. We will have fond memories for years to come, you are so very talented i am glad i got to experience your growth<3

Joelle Fennell - Beth is beautiful, inside and out! Even though we were acquaintances in high school, I admire her strength and courage. I will pray for her! Thank you Joe for sharing these 🙂

Terri - What a beautiful story and pictures. Her strength in her journey shows in the pictures. I will keep her and her family in my prayers. Will look forward to seeing another photo session when she is healed of her cancer.

nirav - This is beautiful brother.

Fotograf ślubny Lublin - Beautiful story and people. You done great job for them and i think for yourself a little too.

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