If you’ve ever watched Tedx, you might have seen the lovely Hannah Stonehouse Hudson speak about Empathy and the power of Virtual Communities. You may also remember her as the photographer whose stunning image of a man floating in a lake with his beloved elderly dog went viral in 2012.
When Hannah came to me for portraits I was so humbled.
Not only is this woman one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met – but she is, without a doubt, among the very strongest. I am honored to have made her portrait, and I am inspired by her story, her journey, and her mission.
She’s currently writing a book and building a new website, so for now I recommend you visit and *like* her on Facebook here. You won’t want to miss what’s coming next.
And now, a few words from Hannah on herself, her story, and her experience at the studio:
I am a photographer, speaker, and outdoors woman who HATES getting her photo taken – unless it’s with a fish, or a stupid selfie with my dogs. That being said, I knew I had to get professional photography done of myself for my various projects (I mean as much as I love my photos of me with fish, they don’t really say “hire her to speak to your group.”)
I have been love with Jennifer’s style for forever. I actually first got into photography because I fell in love with a beautiful classic portrait of my grandmother from the 1940’s, and even though my photography morphed into dogs and fishing subjects, rather than portraits, I still always wanted to be photographed looking as beautiful as my grandma did in that photo. That’s where Jennifer came in – and when I threw in a random request for a large piece of taxidermy to be included – she didn’t blink an eye…
These photos are celebrating a few things.1) Me turning 40 and feeling better than I ever have in my life.2) Me coming out of the deepest, darkest time of my life.
My husband Jim passed away unexpectedly almost 5 years ago. His death was the last blow in about 18 months of sheer chaos and grief. I have spent the past 4.5 years working through all that happened prior to his death, and grieving his sudden passing.
For that 4.5 years I have been carrying around, and obsessing about, the very large – taxidermied – musky that he left with me. This fish is basically an allegory for my life. He speared it the weekend of our first date in 2004, and it was in a place of honor until he died. Then, it laid around gathering dust while I swirled into a deep, dark depression of grief and anxiety and panic.
In the past 6 months, that has finally been cleaned up and restored – and that is exactly how I feel. I feel like I am finally out of the dust and seeing the light. When I asked Jennifer to do my portrait – I wanted to show that – and she did that in every image – especially the one with the musky. It is softly behind me and out of focus. Never forgotten, but a part of me in my past.
The shotgun image is my other “anchor image” as I like to think of it. I have been terrified of guns and loud noises my whole life. No more. I refuse to let fear of any sort stop me.
As I work on my book about being the Northwoods Widow, and speak to groups around the country about living life to the fullest, these images are at the center of the story of where I have been and where I am going. I can’t thank Jennifer enough.