self-portrait with Jake & Maggie

(infrared film-2006)


It’s been a hell of a couple of months.  I’ve been pretty amazed at how well I’ve been keeping it together because I know how hard I can fall.  I attribute that to my faith and my photography, without the two, I would be lost.

I know that everything that I do is virtually a visual diary.  Loss is very difficult for me.  At times I just want to scream what I am feeling, and thankfully my camera does the screaming for me.

Looking at my work I don’t think that it is that hard to figure out why I shoot what I do.  Ignorance is to think that I shoot some things just to shock people (something that I heard before).  The truth is I do what I do as a way to work through my thoughts, questions, & emotions.

Love, Life & Death is the basis of my work. 

So, if your out there looking, thank you for listening.

Monday, October 18th, we had to lay our 11year old boxer to rest, and it has been almost a year now that we had to say goodbye to our boston terrier Jake.  At 10yrs.old, he passed away on November 5th, 2009.  We lost both due to seizures, most likely casued by brain tumors.  Jake had a seizure that he never came out of.  It was over an hour from the time Neil could get home, till the time that we got him to the vets to put him to sleep.  Watching him, helplessly not being able to get out of that state; grinding his teeth till they broke, and defecating uncontrollably is something very hard to forget.

Last Friday afternoon Maggie had her first seizure, and I knew this was the beginning of the end.  Jake had only maybe 5 throughout a year’s time, but on Sunday, Maggie had 3 throughout the day.  We then knew what we had to do.

So, I spent some time Sunday getting some final images.

Today, I am home alone- really alone.  I kind-of dreaded today because I knew I would have no one here.

I made sure that I took my camera to the vets with us because when Jake passed everything happened so fast, and I was upset I didn’t have it there for a final shot. 

But, when all was said and done, and the vet, the nurse, and Neil (who really needed a moment) had stepped out,  I stayed laying on the blanket with her.  My camera was just an arm length away on the chair, but I couldn’t let go of her in fear of losing a second because I knew shortly that my moment with her would be gone, and I’m ok with that. 

It is a challenge learning to accept that this is the way life rolls.


 Polaroid shot, Jake’s 1st doctor visit, March 1999


Jake & I  (same day) March 1999


Maggie, taken 10-17-10 (pacing back and forth,very confused)

Maggie & Chloe’  (same time) 

I find it so interesting the way she is just staring into the sun, it makes me wonder what she was thinking, if she had any notion that life was nearing the end.


Maggie 10-17-10, taken right after her 3rd seizure of the day

(same time) trying to recover from the seizure

  self-portrait taken 10-18-10 (just before we left the house for the vets to have her put to sleep)

self-portrait- Last Photo


4 thoughts on “THE END OF AN ERA

  1. Jen, I am so sorry for your pain! I empathize. I have an Australian Shepherd that will be 15 next month. I know her time is very limited. She has slowed down so much. I dread the day I will have to make the same decision!

    But your portraits are so beautiful!


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