Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It’s never more urgent to document a life, then when we are told that life is unsure.  I want to share with you the precious story of a daughters need to freeze a moment in time   A story that many of you will no doubt identify with, on a deep emotional level. A story I was given permission to share.

 I was approached by a woman that I know named Daisy, who said she wanted to have professional pictures of her mother taken,  As quickly as those words came out of her mouth, tears began to fill her eyes. She told me that her mom, who is known as MaMa Ding, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Daisy wanted to take pictures before Mama Ding lost her hair. I quickly answered yes! 

This soon turned into a family shoot with Daisy, Mama Ding and Daisys 11-year-old daughter Hannah, You see, Mama Ding is Daisys best friend and the woman who helped raise Hannah when they moved to L.A. from the Philippines 7 years ago. 

  A few days later, Daisy asked to move the photo shoot up to this weekend, because Mama Ding was loosing her hair already.  Mama Ding, Daisy and Hannah showed up to the shoot , Mama Ding sporting a smart looking wig.I wanted to capture these 3 generations of one family, in whatever way they responded to each other.  It was clear from the start how close they are. 

Some observations:

~To remember a smile, a laugh, how someone’s hand feels in your palm, or the gentle caress of fingers as a few hairs are brushed from your face by another. 

~The security of resting your head on the shoulders of a loved one, a person who knows all of your strengths and insecurities and loves you still.  

~A distinct fragrance that reminds you of someone special who has brought you so much wisdom and strength.
~The fragile smile, that masks the tornado of emotions inside, that you display to be strong for others.


These were the moments that I discovered while watching a mother, daughter and granddaughter thru my lens. I am so humbled to have witnessed their love and tenderness.  And so I am reminded that we shouldn’t waste time talking about what we will do tomorrow, we should do it today! Celebrate life while you can and capture the moments that will be lasting memories.Do it yourself or find a professional, but just do it!

On this day, these special women smiled,whispered,laughed and connected with each other in a way that inspird me to write to you..  

 No one really knows the time we have, sometimes not even doctors.  But Daisy knew she didn't want to wait to have this experience with the woman who gave her life. I think this was about more than just getting a portrait of Mama Ding. It was a chance to honor a woman, a matriarch, a best friend and grandmother in a way that would last  forever in their hearts. 

 Words can not explain how I feel about having been a small part of this day.  Thanks you Daisy.

This may be my most memorable photo shoot ever! This indeliable image just has to be repeated.

 Bless you Mama Ding, Daisy and Hannah

Monday, August 29, 2011



6 Years ago today Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with such vengeance, that to this day we still shake our heads in utter disbelief.  The horrific reality in New Orleans, the obliteration of town after town, the jaw dropping images will never be forgotten. We prayed that Hurricane Irene would NOT be a repeat Nightmare.  

Today is a day I would like to honor those who did not survive Katrina, those who are STILL trying to rebuild their lives, homes and towns.  I spent two weeks in the ravaged areas volunteering. Then again 6 months later.  6 YEARS later, there are still desolate areas that are a constant reminder of what happened and what hasn't happened, to those who are trying to move on.  I will never forget the people, the toxic smells, the stories of miraculous survival, the shocking bomb like destruction.  You can still help in the volunteer efforts, please do. 

Dateline: New Orleans Sept 14, 2005


Dateline: Waveland Mississippi  Sept 18, 2005


© 2010 Debra Snell Photography
 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I never know when I head out the door for a photo shoot, what the real experience of the day will be. I know the client, the location and sometimes what the feel of the shoot should be.  But what makes the magic is the connection between all of us during the shoot. 

Susan and Charles have been married for decades, and yet it felt as if they were newlyweds.  They are so comfortable with each other.  I wanted to be a fly on the wall in their  world, and they let me  Taking a picture of a couple is easy, but capturing images that show the intimate relationship that they have, that's always my goal.

  Susan and Charles have such a deep spiritual connection, you can see it in the way the fit in each others arms with such contentment...
 The way they laugh with each other...
The way they whisper to each other...
A tender kiss...
A dance, a glance...
They are so comfortable with each other because they share life, love and laughter. What a special couple. What a unique photo shoot.

 Susan and Charles thanks for opening up your home and your hearts, and showing me that love lasts.  Thanks for turning this portrait session into passion pictures. It was an honor to get to know you both thru my lens. Another memorable day for Debra Snell Photography.