A Father Honor's His Daughter's Legacy Through Photography

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(photo credit: CBS)

If you've ever had to plan a funeral then you'll know that one of the first things you do after grieving is desperately searched for pictures of the person you lost. You end up scouring every box or hard drive you have looking for a suitable picture for an obituary or to put on boards in front of the services or to make a slideshow for after the funeral for people to see a glimpse of that person's life. In July of 2017, Johnnie Medina lost his eldest daughter to suicide and when the time came to find pictures of his daughter he had a sad realization that he might not have enough. 

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(photo by Johnnie Medina)

What if they didn't take enough pictures of their beloved daughter that they'd never get to see again? So, to help him work through his grief, Johnnie decided to help other people with terminally ill family members record what precious little time they have left by starting an organization called THROUGH THE LENS

Here's a direct quote from his Go Fund Me page about the organization.

"July 28th, 2017 was the worst day of my life. I received a phone call that my oldest daughter, Mikayla, had died by suicide. Needless to say, I was devastated! I would never see or hold my baby again. This an unbearable pain that no parent should have to go through. I kept saying that I was supposed to be paying for a wedding, not a funeral. It hurts knowing that I will never hold her or hear her call me "Daddy" again. 
My wife and I scrambled to gather every photo of her we could find and head to Kansas City for the funeral. The photos were going to be used for a display at her visitation and funeral. We were also going to use photos to create a video slideshow to share our beautiful daughter with everyone. It was then that I began to feel that we did not have enough photos of her, photos that showed who Mikayla really was, and I felt horrible about that. 
I imagine every parent feels as though they don't have enough photos of their children. A couple of weeks after the funeral, I realized I had to do something to honor Mikayla's life and keep her memory alive. I wanted to make sure I could spare as many families this pain that they would surely feel of not having enough memories of their child. I decided to start an organization to volunteer my services as a Photographer to any family with a loved one who may be sick or dying. I would create portraits of the person, or the entire family, as a lasting memory. I would then give the photos to the family. I would never charge for this service. 
I also would offer my services to as many non-profits as I could, photographing the people they serve, at the families request, as well as the non-profits fundraising events. All of this I would attempt to do at no cost, or a greatly reduced fee. I decided to call the organization, the "Through the Lens". "Through the Lens", refers to a feature of cameras whereby the intensity of light reflected from the scene or subject is measured through the lens. It was the perfect name! I would have the awesome honor of being able to capture the intensity of the light and the "essence" of the person I was photographing and be able to capture that memory for their families. "

It's a beautiful gift spawned from tragedy. You can find more information on the THROUGH THE LENS project from Johnnie's Go Fund Me page. 

Source:  CBS & GO FUND ME