Portrait: Jessica & Harvey in The Shop Ottawa

I have not ‘seen’ Jessica since the last year of high school and as life would have it, so much has changed and so much has not changed.

Over a delicious cup of tea she shared some of her story — some of it I was aware of, but as it is with great loss and great grief, it’s not really yours to know but something to listen to. Her husband Alan Gustafson was diagnosed with ALS shortly before her son Harvey was born and passed away 18 months later. You can read more about their story here.

It is clear when you enter Alan’s former welding shop in Hintonburg, that his memory remains in the strong supporting pieces like the Acorn table. The gold ceilings build in a warmth not common to workshops and the light coming in from the garage window make it a space that made me want to stay in permanently and create so many things. There is a lot of love in this shop.

There are a lot of photos I love in this portrait. The final photo specifically because of the way Jessica and Harvey are unconsciously touching Alan’s table, the way they are supporting each other and the way the shop seems to glow… to me this image speaks a little to their immeasurable loss, the uncertainty and helplessness that it can prevail, and the strength and support they have to find their way through it all.

I want to say thank you again to both Jessica and Harvey for letting me in and for making me a great cup of tea.

ps. Tis the holiday season, consider donating to ALS Canada.