October 8, 2010

The Gurr Family















A little back story...

These folks are literally family to me. We are not related one bit, but still they are family to me. How? Let's travel back in time.

I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. I became friends with a guy named Todd Wells (Todd is brother to the mom in this shoot). Not just friends, we were best friends. We'd have sleep overs, cause a ruckus and everything else 13/14 yr old boys do. At the end of the summer when I was 14, they moved away to Laie HI, where his dad had gotten a job as an art teacher at Brigham Young University in Hawaii.

I would visit him a couple times until my father got sick when I turned 15. My dad had multiple strokes and was not the same person. I did not know how to cope, so I rebelled. I acted out and did things I knew flat out I was not supposed to be doing.

When I was 16 I "moved" out. Call it what you, basically I was a punk kid and I was kicked out of the house for being wrapped up in things I should not have been. So, I moved to Laie HI where I lived with Charmaine, Todd and their family.

Long story short, I thought I'd move to Hawaii and keep going down the path I was headed on (NOWHERE FAST, though I did not know that at the time). But, my life totally changed living with this family. I cleaned my act up, and literally my life changed.

When I held my first workshop in Laie, people would always ask, why Hawaii. Of course they are thinking the obvious answer : "HELLO!? It is Hawaii! Who would not want to do a workshop here!". Well, yes, it is Hawaii, but it goes beyond that. The workshop was held literally a 3 minute walk from where my life changed. Laie holds a dear place in my heart. It is a place where I found who I wanted to be, a place that changed me from the inside out, and a place that is like no other I've ever been to. Had I not lived there with this amazing family, I am confident I would not be writing this today, nor would you be visiting a blog about photography by me. They are truly responsible for all of the major opportunities that have come in my life.

So, here is 3 cheers to Charmaine and the Wells family for taking a punk kid into their home and believing I could change.

The whole event can be viewed online HERE.

13 comments:

Ja said...

i LOVE that curly hair!!!!

ellen said...

What a great story.

Jen B said...

Great story Jon!! And I'm in love with that beautiful curly haired girl! reminds me of me.

Kate said...

Thank you for sharing that story jon. :)

The Lenarts said...

You are blessed.
If my little kids ever turn "punk" I hope there is a family out there that will save them from the jump in darker waters. Or even better I hope we could be the safe family.

Elise said...

ah! i hope my kids have their little girl's hair! my brown, straight with drew's blonde curly i think would make this...?

Tracee Breeze said...

Cannot imagine you being a punk kid....... but what a great story. thanks for always sharing.

beautiful family and photos!

Larry said...

great photos but an even better story. i love and miss Laie like crazy. it truly is a special place. thanks for sharing.

Maddie said...

Could this family be anymore adorable??! That little girl's curls are killing me! Great job! Your work is fantastic!!

Rob Oresteen said...

Love that story Jonathan..

ec said...

thanks for sharing that story!

and another killer family shoot.

also, i miss your wife's blog.

emlizalmo said...

Beautiful story. Beautiful family.

GURR AIGA said...

Jon thanks again- We love our pictures and thanks for saving my junior year! Love to you and the family! Alofa