The path to this project began in 2010 with the quick and arduous cancer diagnosis and death of my mother. Through my grieving, I wished so badly I had captured photos of us together before we crossed the threshold of leaving and being left. I also longed for images of us in the midst of the journey, when we knew so much was about to change but we had no idea how quickly and how devastatingly.
Immediately following her death I became a graduate student at the University of Missouri studying Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in death and grief. I became a volunteer at the local hospice, lost both my grandparents, and discovered I was pregnant. After transitioning to parenthood, I became a DONA certified birth doula and began bringing a camera along to births - there began my photography journey.
Seven years ago I walked into my mentor's office and asked if he would teach me. I said, “I have a dream to create a non profit for post-diagnosis photography but before I can take on sessions that carry such weight, I want to be the best. I want to be a ‘real’ photographer”.
He trained me the old fashioned way; countless hours in the studio, studying, receiving feedback and pouring over images to see how I could have made them better. I offered a Trixi session to the Darby family early in my career and was so frustrated with the difficulty I faced while trying to pose them, I used their kind donation to purchase a posing book off of Amazon. I studied light. I built a career - a career as a photographer that has been my sole income for the last 5 years.
I have a vast and versatile portfolio. I have photographed everything from automobiles, corporate headshots, birth, countless families in various locations, live performances, fresh foods, and models on the runway.
My work as a photographer has made me technically skilled and wildly capable, my work as a doula has given me the ability to hold space and see the value in doing so, and my journey through my personal losses and grief taught me the importance of photographing tender moments and facing difficult transitions. My beliefs are that death is as holy and sacred as birth, and that photography provides this gift, an invaluable way to remain connected to loved ones for the years to come.
If I can serve just one family, if I can help create one legacy, if I can give you this tangible gift that you may not even know you need, my journey being motherless will not have been in vain. My experience may ease yours.
This project is my soul work - to encourage you and your loved ones to pause and cherish the moments you have now, to capture your love and connection so you can remember, to show you that this photo session is worth doing. Offering this as a service to all is the work of my lifetime.
My hope is that these images ease your heartbreak and anguish when you need them to and help create meaning as you process. So you can look back and feel the weight of your loved ones' arms around you, smell the grass next to them, hear their laughter in your ear, and know that no matter where this path leads post-diagnosis, you will always maintain that connection.
We can create an intentional, beautiful, memory and we can keep it forever - for you and yours - in a photograph.
The Trixi Lou Project is my legacy.