October 2, 2012

Life Celebration of Penny Thomas


Before you watch this, please, change the settings to HD and make it full screen. It is worth the wait. And while you are waiting, go grab some tissues, and a loved one, you'll need it.

I have so many things to say about this. The love of family, the loss of a loved one, the hope to be reunited as a family someday...but I will let the images speak for themselves.

Jill Thomas is a good friend of mine. I met her like I've met many of my photographer friends, from FILM IS NOT DEAD. When I found out about how her youngest daughter Penny passed away, and that the funeral would be here in Heber, UT, I offered to come and shoot the life celebration of her little girl.

I've had experience doing this before. And you are probably thinking, man, how can he do this, it seems so hard. I'm here to tell you, it is hard. I was a bubbling mess. BUT, this beats any card, any set of flowers I could send. This is my gift to the Thomas family, and anyone who views it.

This is why I do what I do. Yes, I shoot weddings, commercial work, families, and a ton of personal work. But what drives me to do what it is that I do, is celebrating the family unit and all that that entails. There is nothing more important to me in this world than family.

Thank you to the Thomas family for letting me come and document this for them. Jill's dad said something to me as I was leaving that I'll never forget. He pulled me aside and thanked me for coming and doing this then said to me "make her live forever". Well, Brother Thomas, I did my best.

The music is by my dear friend Ryan Tanner and his old band Atherton.

34 comments:

Juliann Newton said...

beautiful job, John. Penny has touched so many lives. and made us appreciate the precious gift of life and family so much more.

Bunn Salarzon said...

Words lodged in my throat. *wiping tears*

meg manion silliker said...

this is the most beautiful + heart wrenching thing i have ever seen. all the glory + love that is family captured in time. i can barely breathe or see through my tears. what a most amazing gift you have given this family. the power of a photograph but also the power of their love + heartache + togetherness for their beautiful penny girl forever a family. forever and a day. thank you for sharing this. m.

Stuart cooper said...

Oh my God Jonathan I am in floods of tears! This is a very brave thing you have done here, I am not sure that it is something I could find the strength to do. This is possibly the worst thing that any family should have to do and you have managed to find the beauty in such a heartbreaking event. I have never met a photographer with such soul as you. X

My best wishes and love to the Thomas family.

rowe timson said...

tears are rolling down my face and i have so few words... such a terribly sad time for jill and her gorgeous family but you have given them a beautiful gift my friend! hugs to you all xxx

rowe timson said...

tears are streaming down my face... my heart is aching for jill and her gorgeous family... you have given them a beautiful gift my friend that they will cherish forever! hugs to all, rowe xxx

Anonymous said...

I was listening to the Musea podcast a few months back and heard you talk about photographing a funeral for a little baby. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever heard. I was walking down the street while listening and instantly started to cry. So when I heard about little Penny I was really hoping you would be involved with the service somehow. You have an wonderful gift you are able to give grieving families and I thank you for doing it.

Misty Smith said...

Just beautiful

Bonnie Berry said...

Beautiful Jon.

Kira Lauren said...

You captured the gamut of emotion that I'm sure lingered in the air that day, but most of all, the family's beautiful and incredible strength. I'm sitting here right now with my baby girl bawling my eyes out, and incredibly grateful for my family, and my job as a photographer. Thanks for sharing, Jon.

shari berry bo-berry said...

so beautiful. so so so beautiful. the Thomas family is in my stake and although I do not know them personally, we have all been deeply touched and saddened by their loss. what a wonderful gift to give them. thank you for your kind soul Jon. i am happy to know there are still many loving people like you in this world! you make it a better place. xoxo from HB

AlliSMiles said...

Breathtaking. If my tears were words, there'd be a lot on this page.

My heart aches for you, Jill.

kristin brown said...

Jonathan, what a gift you have to be able to document something like this so perfectly. And what a treasure this will be for the family.

Elisa said...

Painfully beautiful.I sincerely cannot imagine anyone else would have captured the love and emotion of that day better than you did.

Sending strength and love to the Thomas family.

Anonymous said...

this has stopped me in my tracks. this is the most beautiful gift to her family.

Anonymous said...

this is awesome.

Marci Mortensen said...

So touching Jon. Makes me grab my little ones and remember what is most important. Beautifully done.

tim coulson said...

That was really special, Jon. That's life changing stuff. How incredible to have developed a talent that can share those emotions and encourage us to remember our own families.

ALMA // said...

amazing Jon, just amazing!

Michelle Huesgen said...

Tragically beautiful. My prayers are with them.

barb shoop said...

Really beautiful, Jon.

barb shoop said...

Really beautiful, Jon.

Heather Bliss said...

My heart hurts watching this. The sweet photos of the siblings are what got me.

kyle said...

well done. really powerful stuff.

Ashley Smith said...

I have no words. I'm sitting here in silence after the song is done. tears. Each image still in my head. Prayers for Jill and her family as they mourn and heal. And thank you for being there to capture the each smile, cry, hug for the Thomas 'Ohana and for all of us.

Ashley Smith said...

i have no words. the song is done and i'm in silence. thinking. tearing. each image still in my head. i'm praying for Jill and her family as they mourn and heal. and i thank you jon for capturing each smile, hug, cry for the thomas 'ohana and for all of us.

Emily Steffen said...

WoW!!!!!!!!! Best set of photos I have ever seen!!! :)

Alice said...

what a gift this was. so much sadness and so much love all at once.

Manus Chau said...

these are great jon. such a great gift to jill and her family.

Jonah said...

In the most difficult moment of life, somehow you gave hope...to all of us. I don't think I can ever forget the strength of this family.

Belinda Olsen said...

These images are incredibly touching and powerful. Each image tells such an impacting story. Your work shows the connection you have with your clients/friends and that is wonderful!

Pink Peony Photography said...

so moving and beautiful!

Kirstin said...

An occasion that a family should never have to experience, captured with heartfelt and poignant honesty.

Amanda said...

i keep an eye on both yours and jill thomas' blog- i always thought you were both insanely incredible photographers. when i "heard" about her little penny it completely broke my heart. stumbling across this today, i can't explain to you how touching this was- your talent IS what makes photography remarkable. your ability to capture moments- every moment- in a profound and tender way- is something so rare and so beautiful and so tender. maybe the most touching pictures i've ever seen. literally, speechless. (and bawling.)