#019 – A Story on Photographs + Healing After Sudden Loss with Brittni Schroeder

It was after 11 p.m., when I should’ve been sleeping, but instead I laid there, mindlessly scrolling Instagram as I was jolted into full focus on a stranger’s feed. I was so captivated and moved by her shares, that I got back up and wrote out about 20 questions for Brittni BEFORE even inviting her to be an IDP guest.

I’m so thankful she said yes.

Gage Schroeder was a “once in a lifetime kid,” according to his dad.

He died in a tragic accident in May 2017 at 14 years old. Brittni is his mom and also a professional photographer.

Gage had an impact on many. Brittni’s Instagram feed is THAT story in a mix of photographs and words. She’s been sharing memories, testaments to his character through stories others have shared with her, her ups in downs in the days (first year) since his loss.

Seeing all of this, my curiosity kicked in.

I couldn’t help, but wonder how she’s feeling around the pictures + documentations she has of his life and memories with him from her unique perspective as a photographer just like you and I.

That’s what we do in our community (whether professional or personally) – we’re documenting life, showing people (ourselves) the love, the humor, the realness that exists in everyday life even when the goodness doesn’t feel so apparent and the tough stuff is hard to accept. We’re preserving memories, etc.

So, how well does all of this stand up after such a great loss?

Here’s my disclaimer: I listen to myself and what a goon I sound like, because I didn’t have the words. This episode is tough to listen through, but the nuggets of wisdom and perspective shake up is beautiful. If you have a hard time listening to stories of loss, this is your warning that this ep is a bit heavy in that aspect in case you need to pass or listen at a better time when you have time to regroup after.

Get the Mini Mag for this one, seriously.

Click here to subscribe

In this episode:

  • We start with Brittni introducing herself as a photographer, then telling us about a shift in motherhood that started about 2 years prior to losing Gage
  • She shares a piece of marriage advice she received early on that they followed for 14 years that’s made her grateful
  • Then, she gives us a look at the Compassion Club and the Gage Schroeder Foundation. She learned, to heal, you must serve others. What I especially love is that through her family’s service, they’ve also uniquely preserved Gage’s spirit in a different way than pictures, videos, etc: by starting a non-profit.

Then, we get into all the photography and memory recording stuff:

  • How her pictures serve her vivid mental images of Gage
  • What she wished she had pictures of
  • What kind of documentations (pictures, videos, etc.) she leans to the most – which was a surprising response to me
  • I give her a glimpse into my program, The Preservation Project, and ask her advice in what we could be missing. Brittni delivers with such a beautiful why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? piece of wisdom that also had me and pre-published ep listeners thinking “hmm, I really need to get more intentional here.”
  • Then, we talk about the tough pictures made by her friend, Jean Smith, of Gage & his family in the hospital, of his funeral, his family visiting him at the cemetery.
  • Lastly, I asked her, what would be her last picture if she could get the image of him in her mind into a photograph.

Deep breath. Enjoy the story.

More goodness:

MY SUBTLE ASK:


Like this ep? Bookmark by pinning this: 

Mother and Son Portrait by Jean Smith

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *