Portrait of Terri Jean

DSC_0052This is Terri Jean.

When my mom drove me up from Florida to Saint Louis for school, she stopped by this house on the way up. I was asleep in the car when she went inside to visit with her friend. I woke up, she was gone, so I knocked on this stranger’s house, knowing my mom was in there talking, had been for at least an hour, and was going to continue for a few more. As soon as the door opened, a big dog came barking at me, dying for my attention, and there came Terri Jean, arms outstretched, waiting to hug the daughter she had heard about, but was just now meeting, tired, hair all messed up from falling asleep in the car.

I sat in her house for at least another hour and a half as my mom talked with her, and I could tell she was one of mom’s special friends. Mom has a way of finding the best people who you just wish were your friends because you know they would do anything for you. And Terri Jean is exactly that type of person.

As she was giving us a tour of her house, I knew I wanted to photograph it. When the chance arose for a class project, and she approved my idea of me visiting to photograph her home, I never would have thought it would lead to my favorite portrait I have ever taken. I also would have never thought that I’d leave her house knowing that I had somebody here for me if I needed it. She made sure that I, the broke college student that I am, left with home cooked meals, canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels, desserts, and her friend Rich even threw in some old sweatshirts to make sure I was staying warm in this Saint Louis cold.

Even if I was not as happy as I am with how the photographs turned out, I would have left happy after hearing all of the stories of all the many collected items Terri Jean has and with the homemade chocolate treats she sent me home with (that honestly did not make it the ride home ..).

Check out my next blog post for more pictures of Terri Jean, Rich, their dog Achilles, and their home!


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