don’t give up project: bernie + roxi


“I have hope for people’s marriages who don’t have hope for themselves.”

There aren’t words to describe the admiration I have for Bernie and Roxi and the gratitude from letting me be part of their life. I had the chance to spend some time living near them in Amsterdam and was impacted by their hospitality, honesty, and ability to share what seemed like such personal stories–ones most people keep hidden in dark places–so candidly. Trimming their hour-long conversation into something short for the slideshow was difficult. I probably didn’t do it justice. If you can set aside an hour and listen to the whole conversation, the link is below.

Bernie and Roxi’s willingness to share their story comes with hope that it’ll be heard by a person (or people) who need to hear it. A story of two people who found themselves knee-high in the shit of life, trying to figure out what was missing, being carried through the hard times by something bigger than themselves, followed by the sweetness that comes on the other side of suffering, and now their hearts are for other people’s marriages, using their we’ve-been-there story to stand alongside others fighting for their marriages. This is their don’t give up story.

I know many people who have gone through/are going through separations. It’s not without reservation that I share this post; we have absolutely no intentions of causing grievance to anyone. We feel strongly someone may be in a place where they need to hear this story, and it’s for them. I grew up in a single-parent home and have had a great life. I have an affection for all sorts of family units and appreciate what lengths parents go to for their children. I’m not sure where it was sparked, but I’ve found that the biggest goal of my work through photos and storytelling is that those reflections will be something that builds up families. Whether it’s on a wedding day, through birth, childhood, or loss. I want my photos to strengthen family bonds.

Humans are the most important element of story, and I am for YOU no matter what your marital status reads. I also know there’s a gravity that tears apart families in our culture, and I would love for the quiet voices in the “don’t give up” narratives to be heard, shared, sat with, and maybe, just maybe, it can be the little glimpse of hope, the answer to a question, an unveiling of a truth, the plot that didn’t make it to the movies, something that bears good fruit in someone’s life.

I understand that some people may have a hard time digesting this piece. I ask that you politely keep your negative comments to yourself, as this is a personal story, and the storytellers deserve to be honored and respected and antagonism would hinder the cultivation of a vulnerable community on this page.

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