I didn’t know it that day, but that’s the day a seed was planted for Fowler Studios. I was in Brunswick, GA on a business trip when my mom called and told me my nieces had been born… three months early. One passed away shortly after birth and the other was tiny, but a fighter. Kyah and Sunaura.
Nothing can quite describe the hospital room when I arrived. It was the following day by that point, but there still wasn’t anything to say. I called my friend who was a funeral director to ask what to do. When there’s a new baby you congratulate the parents, ask how they’re doing. But when everything is a shock and one baby has passed away?
What on earth do you do?
We have 2 cell phone pictures of Kyah. She was beautiful. It broke my heart that there was this beautiful little life that was no more. In the shock of the delivery room, my brother was able to get two flip phone photos of his daughter. That’s all, yet we’re grateful to have those. So final.
A few months later I learned about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It’s a group of professional photographers who volunteer their time to families in these situations. They take professional pictures for the parents to have those memories. That’s kind of all the families have, honestly.
A few months after that we officially paid off our last debt and had a little extra money that I bought a camera with. I began furiously learning everything I could about how the camera worked and how to take the best picture. I wanted so badly to volunteer for this organization!
Really, that’s why I started this thing. To give those families something in their time of unimaginable pain. There’s nothing you can say to make it better, but these pictures last forever.
It took awhile. I had to learn all sorts of techniques, I needed to be proficient in flash, and needed to have a professional photography business. This venture was getting expensive, so I started doing photo sessions as a way to pay for new equipment. I truly never imagined it would turn into the Fowler Studios we know today.
This past Friday was my most recent session for NILMDTS. It’s weird to most people, but the babies don’t bother me. When I walk in all I see is a teeny tiny little human who didn’t get the same chance to breathe that the rest of us have gotten. And two parents that are totally lost, in shock, and feeling any number of emotions. There are not right things to say, so I don’t say much.
Sorry for the sad post today. It’s not something I’ve shared on a public platform before because, well, it’s not the cheeriest story in the world. I often avoid the question when people ask how I got started… or I’ll just talk about the logistics of starting a business. There’s nothing like bringing a conversation down with retelling the story of your niece passing away at birth. But it’s the truth. It’s why I started this business, and I’m so thankful that I did.