intangibles (the hladuns) / by Ashley Brown

Intangibles. Sure, you can hold a portrait with your own two hands, but never again will you be able to re-live that fleeting moment in time. Each time I am with the Hladun family, I am reminded of this. My first introduction to their beautiful family of five was through Kristen, before her days with ABP. I had the privilege of photographing their baby son, Will, who was at AMC Children's Hospital while battling an aggressive form of cancer. I could never have imagined the impact it would have on me, both personally and professionally. Will earned his wings at 7 months old, two days after I met his family. We've talked about our passion for their foundation-- the Brave Will Foundation--and urge everyone to read about Will's story and the amazing work that they do in honor of their son. I promise you, you will be forever indebted to the strength and perserverence of their family. Their story is one that makes you pause, and puts perspective into your own life... and reminds you that documenting the lives of your children is so, so important.

I've been blessed to have been able to keep in touch with the Hladun's, and continue to document their family. We thought this would be a great time for a session, as Will would have just celebrated his 3rd birthday, and his brothers, Ben and Max, are getting so big. Though Will is not physically here, he is present in every facet of their lives. Their home is such a welcoming place, filled with little reminders of Will and priceless gifts that the family was given. It was a lot of fun for me to be able to incorporate a place and possessions that are so important to them. Matt and Tammy fully embrace their boys and every aspect of their personalities, and kept repeating throughout the session... "This is who our boys are."

This is why I do what I do.

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I prefer shooting in-home sessions in more of a lifestyle fashion. It just fits with the personal feel, and allows us to incorporate a family or childs' favorite things. I especially love piling everyone on mom and dad's bed. Frogs remind the Hladun's of Will, so of course, he was included!

fam

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Love, love, love this.

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The boys playing a game in Will's room...

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Another favorite aspect of at home sessions... photographing the little ones in their rooms. Max grabbed his lovey and curled up with his thumb in his mouth, which is what he does each time his duck is in hand. I'm glad we captured it.

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The shelves behind Matt & Tammy are full of their families treasures and photos.

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And to end the session on a sweet note... freeze pops in the backyard!

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Matt, Tammy, Ben, Max and Will... it was a pleasure, as always!

P.S. The Brave Will Foundation is the running for a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project, specifically in benefit of their program SOAR, which supports families on the first anniversary of the child's passing. Would you take a second to vote for them? Just click here.