My Memory Keeper… Oxford Photographer’s Story

Of course as Photographers we communicate, push and even sometimes harp on the importance of getting your family photos taken yearly. And in the back of your mind, I know you are thinking, “Right….. do we really need a family photograph every year, I know you (the photogs) just want the business”

This is not a post like that. This is my story, why Photos are important to me. photo

My Family is dysfunctional. Maybe more then most, maybe not. Though I was born an only child, I was not raised as one. My mother raised my cousin. We had    bunk beds, I don’t remember a single vacation when Justin wasn’t there with me. We walked home from school together, and being 5 yrs my Senior, he  would  help me with my homework, try to black photo(1)mail me after making me say profanity, and was the only one allowed to torture me, as most brothers do.

It was this way for the longest time. I don’t remember when he stopped staying the night, & moved out…. but it happened. Though even in his senior year of HS, he would be at my house waiting for me while I was in 7th grade. If he had work or football practice, he’d leave his calling card, MTV (back when it really was music television) would be on so I’d know he had been there.

I remember his Senior Portrait session in October of ’92. It was a mad house mess to say the least. My Grandmother, Aunt, Mom, myself all had photographs taken with Justin, and then a group photo that included dogs. What were we thinking?!?! With all the nastiness that ensued, my family is very opinionated, arguments happened, then we smiled for the camera. I hated the photos when they came. I didn’t like the outfits they had picked out, but being 12, I didn’t get much say. I never would have guessed that these Senior Portraits would be come so treasured.


Less then 2 Months later, on January 1st, he died.

Lange Photography in Wapakoneta was a blessing. When we had originally ordered the photographs, budget was a concern as it is with most families, I’m not sure how, or when, but I now have the negatives to this shoot. Now that I am older, I have my own Photographs of Justin, and thorough these, my daughter is able to know her Uncle Justin a little bit more.

This is why photography means so much to me. One never knows when tragedy will happen, and you will cling to the photographs, because that is all you have left to remember his crooked smile, & the way his hair would curl up at the back, because even your memory eventually fades.




For this post I had to find the Senior Photos, we recently moved, and my heart sank, panic set in when I couldn’t find them.



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