This is our story of a hope and healing photography session.
In 2014, Janine suffered a monumental loss when her fiancé passed away 2 months before their wedding day. To deal with her grief she decided to create a memorial photo-shoot. The images and video story we created together were an incredibly cathartic and emotional experience for us both. The experience allowed Janine to rediscover her femininity and open her eyes once more to the beauty of the world.
My name is Matt Adcock and this is the first time I’ve been inspired to do anything like this in my 10+ year career as a destination wedding photographer. After I heard Janine’s story, I really wanted to do what I could to create a magical adventure for her. She told me that she felt a strong connection with the element of water, for its cleansing and purifying qualities and the sense of freedom she felt while swimming. I knew that the natural aquatic wonders of the Riviera Maya would offer great comfort and would be the perfect vehicle for her healing process.
I began to develop a plan, one that would involve a symbolic and ceremonial liberation from grief. The shoot was designed to have several points that would serve as memory markers for her, the balloon release and the falling into the cenote both representing elements of letting go of the past and opening herself to the future.
This is by far the most emotional I have ever been while working on a project. I was brought to tears when I started to bring the story to life in the editing room. I am humbled to have been able to meet and work with Janine and am inspired by her words and her courage in sharing her message of hope. I would like to thank Zuko and our friends at AM Resorts and Dreams Tulum for helping us bring this idea to life.
I laughed and cried with Janine. Her spirit and energy are contagious and I really hope her story touches someone else going through a tough time. Janine had the courage to express herself in a way others can’t even imagine.
After the shoot, we interviewed Janine. She shared these thoughts with us:
When I finally decided that I wanted to keep my wedding dress and not sell it because of what it means to me, I started to Google “photography” and “underwater bride”. Del Sol Photography came up more than once so I finally looked at their website. I was in awe of their work so I said to myself, “What are you going to lose? Just go for it. So I filled out the “contact us” part of their website and they got back to me in 24 hours.
My expectation was to find a certain closure and to have a photo shoot of my dress in a different way that not your average bride would even think of doing. I wanted to be free and I wanted to do something different.
The day of the shoot I woke up at Dreams Tulum very excited, but I was also very nervous. My dress was huge and I didn’t know what to expect while I was in the water. I had no idea what a cenote was. But I was also curious to see what Matt had in store for me. He ran a bunch of ideas past me and so I was eager to find out how the day was going to go.
This day was very emotional. At the end of the day I felt so accomplished and I felt more alive than I have ever felt since May 1st. I really felt that Johnny was smiling down at me and finally giving me closure that I can live my life in a positive way, but never forgetting why I was here. I want to move on and explore the world. I want to meet people who I can share that with. After the shoot I felt like all this was possible.
If I could reach out to anyone suffering from a loss, I would tell them this. Listen to YOUR heart! You are the most important person and only YOU can help yourself. What I experienced isn’t for everyone but I do want people to know that you are not alone in all this, if you have family that ask if they can help SAY YES! You are grieving and you need this time to really think about what you are going to do next. You have the right to cry and you have the right to be alone (but not too much alone) If you are close to family or friends lean on them. Also, try something new! When I did this photo shoot I had the best time I actually had fun for the 1st time in 3 month since Johnny passed away. Reach out for help and never apologize for your actions because you are strong and you will get through this!
We thank you all for taking the time to share in Janine’s experience and we send everyone wishes of healing, hope and joy. Please share this story with anyone who may be in need of light and love.