Last year, I was able to meet up with a few friends from college in Chicago for a weekend. We were all living in different parts of the country and had not seen each other in a few years. Three of us arrived on time but one of my friends, Carrie, was delayed.
My friend Carrie Furry has always been a gifted photographer. During our college years, Carrie never left home with out her camera. During this time, taking a camera with you was special as it was a time before this current era of digital cameras and smartphones. Until this particular weekend, I had not been fully aware of all the amazing work that my friend was doing with her artistic talent and passion for photography.
On the day that Carrie was supposed to meet us, she was waiting at a hospital in Indiana for a soon to be mother to give birth. For many soon to be parents, this time should be one of anxiety, excitement, and happiness. Sadly, for this soon to be mother and father, their time was even more precious than most. Due to an identified disease during routine tests, their child was not expected to live that long past birth. It was unclear as to how long the child would survive. The child could live for a few seconds or only up to a few months. In any case, sadly the child’s life was going to be very short. Carrie was there to try to capture this child’s live moments.
As with many baby deliveries, the process took longer than expected and the replacement photographer was unable to make it to the hospital. My friend Carrie wanted to stay. As friends, we supported her and told her we would see her when her work was completed. Carrie, along with the cooperative and willing doctors and nurses in the room was able to capture this child’s first moments of life. She was able to give these parents a unique and precious gift to hold onto.
She shared her experience with us the next day.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Carrie. I asked her to share the details of what inspired her to begin this journey of capturing special moments of life and giving gifts of memories.
Carrie explained that the seed to her path was planted when, at around the same time, two of her close friends gave birth to still born babies. Carrie remembered what stuck most in her mind was that both friends had stated that they were so thankful for the pictures of their babies. The pictures gave them something to hold onto. From these experiences a spark occurred. She began thinking about what she could do but wasn’t able to grasp it yet.
Later, while at one of her favorite Christian artists concert, the artist made a statement “God gives everyone a gift to give to others. If you don’t use your gift then you will miss out on the gifts that others have to give to you.” His statement also stuck with her. Carrie was still thinking about what gift she had available to give to others.
Eventually, at an event, a person came up to her and said “Carrie, you need to see my friends site.” It was The American Child Photographers Charity Guild’s website. Originally, Carrie worked only with this organization. Although Carrie continued and is still a member of this organization today, she had ideas to expand beyond their boundaries.
Carrie decided to start her own ministry, Fingerprints of Grace.
Her ministry as explained on her site “was created to offer a personal and sensitive photo session for families experiencing a significant trial, whether it be early infant loss or a parent or child facing a life-threatening condition.” She has established working relationships with hospitals and with others in her community to help to find people that need her services.
Carrie explained that taking these pictures has been her “chance to share faith and God with others.” It has been her opportunity “to give people hope when they don’t have any.” Carrie has valued the process of the experience not just the final product. An important aspect to her photo sessions has been in trying to keep them fun and light to help provide healing. She has tried to capture moments in each photograph that tells the story without words. Carrie stated that her work “has been life changing.”
Fingerprints of Grace, is one aspect of Carrie’s work. She also has a larger photography business Rhema Photography. As stated on her website, Carrie considers herself a “lifestyle” photographer, keeping her work candid and casual, while capturing a story. “She specializes in finding common ground with her subjects and works within that to capture their genuine spirit and unique personality.” Carrie has been given a gift, and as seen from the many photographs on her websites, has touched many lives. It is because of her that so many people have already been given treasured gifts, moments of time captured to tell their story.