Cancer – A soulful moment. {Portrait Photographer, Bend Oregon}

Last week I escaped to  Napa, CA,  for some husband and wife only time. Not only was it magical and soothing for the soul but there was no accident that I was meant to cross paths with a very special couple.

While cooling off in the pool at our quaint Bed & Breakfast (will blog all about that next time) we began chatting with another couple who were also guests. Their names were Melissa and Andrew Devore, all the way from Boston and there for a completely different purpose. They were celebrating Melissa’s completion of a year of cancer treatment. It was exactly a year to the day that Melissa underwent her surgery.

I was instantly drawn to Melissa and was touched by her story she shared.  I have never thought about what I would look like with no hair. But I hope I would look as beautiful as Melissa does.

Melissa’s story can be found here.

While enjoying the early evening in the beautiful grounds at our B& B called  Chateau De Vie , Melissa and Andrew appeared. Having my camera in my hand I had to ask if they would be interested in a photo. Fortunately they weren’t camera shy and happily did as I asked.

After a few shots, Andrew asked if I could photograph Melissa without her wig. Instantly things changed and another side of Melissa was about to been seen through my lens.

I knew straight away the vibrant and healthy hedges were the perfect place to have Melissa placed.  As soon as my camera was positioned in front of her face and I looked through my lens, I felt her and her soul. It is rare but when this happens I feel a wave of tingling through my body. I felt emotion rising within me as I focused on what I needed to do next.

In the first image, I wanted Andrew to be present like he has been for Melissa but I wanted him to be in the background and not fully in focus. I asked Melissa to close her eyes and think of her journey over the past year. She then opened her blue eyes and the moment I was wanting was captured. In the second image everything was the same, other than I asked her to close her eyes and think of her future. You won’t miss which images below I am referring to.

Having the opportunity to meet and photograph Melissa and Andrew was as much of a gift for me as it is was for them.  Sometimes we feel so helpless when so many friends and loved ones are being diagnosed with cancer. It seems like cancer is everywhere.

Melissa’s story has given me encouragement and a knowing that there is a way to help make a difference and not everyone will loose their battle with cancer. We all need to remind ourselves (including me) how precious life is and being healthy is a gift. We shouldn’t have to experience cancer to learn this!

Thank you Melissa for showing me your soul and for touching me.

Please send good thoughts, prayers and energy  to Melissa and Andrew. May their future together flourish like a  flower blooming in springtime.

While you are at it,  please include an amazing woman and photographer from Bend, Jen Thompson and my childhood neighbor and family friend  in New Zealand, Graham Tait who are both fighting for their lives.


PS, my favorite song  – IMAGINE, by John Lennon is playing as I finish up writing this post, it just caught my attention! No accidents…




photo 1 - thinking of the past year.

photo 2 - thinking of the future!

a new door - representing where they are going.



  • Karen - June 7, 2012 - 9:25 am

    absolutely PERFECT!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Gendreau - June 7, 2012 - 11:17 am

    Thank you so much for posting these gorgeous pictures of my niece, Melissa. Your article was so right, she is an amazing young woman, and has proven it time and time again this past year. Her husband, Andy, is the “wind beneath her wings”. You absolutely saw right into their souls and captured it so beautifully with your pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Stillwell - June 7, 2012 - 11:46 am

    You hit me where it hurts this time Jill. No better words could be said no better pictures could show the story…ReplyCancel

  • Reynold A. Ilg - June 7, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    You captured my daughter and her wonderful husband in a most beautiful and accurate way. She has maintained that beautiful smile, attitude and outlook throughout this ordeal. Andy has been the solid rock everyday and his love for her is obvious as is her love for him. Her mother and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the exceptionally striking and heart stopping pictures of a truly beautiful couple.ReplyCancel

    • Jill Rosell - June 7, 2012 - 4:29 pm

      You must be a very proud Mother. It was a delight capturing your beautiful daughter. I felt and saw Melissa’s strength. Amazing things are ahead for her. She obviously has a loving and supportive family. Hugs xReplyCancel

  • Lori-Ane Ilg-Michaud - June 7, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    Thank you for these wonderful pictures of my sister and brother in law. Birth order does not dictate roles in our family as my “little” sister proves to me everyday how to accomplish your goals no matter what. This is a life lesson I’m grateful to learn from her always! This “big” sister is so lucky to have her as my role model that I can look up to!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Cantor - June 8, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Thank you for this wonderful gift you have given Melissa, Andy, and Melissa’s parents. Words can not express what you have done for all of us.ReplyCancel

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