My love of Hawaii began 13 years ago when I posted and grabbed a deal paying just $87 for airfare and hotel. I’ve been to Hawaii some 9 times, including an entire month after I married Mimi, and can’t wait to go back again.
Some people love shopping for souvenirs when they travel. We have a different philosophy and love having a professional photo shoot.
We found Jonelle from Wailea Photography back in 2011 when we flew to Hawaii with 5 month old Rafi:
We loved how she captured the spirit and memories of the vacation and had her take our photos again when we went back in 2014 with 5 month old Talia and 2 year old Rafi:
It’s never easy to get kids to cooperate for a photo shoot, but Jonelle did an amazing job getting them in the mood for pictures.
By 2016 this was already our thing, but I was in for a surprise when I emailed Jonelle. She said that she was receiving tons of business from my original blog post about her and couldn’t wait to thank me in person. Cool!
Once again, the pictures, now with 4 year old Rafi and 2 year old Talia, were awesome:
Our most recent trip to Hawaii was earlier this year.
Part of the motivation for making the long trek to the islands was getting the family photo, now with our latest addition, 1 year old Maya.
Alas the weather in Maui on the trip just wouldn’t cooperate.
It rained and when it didn’t rain it was windy. We tried a photo shoot on our final night, but the strong winds made it impossible.
Jonelle felt so bad as she knew how much we wanted the photo shoot, but we told her we were flying to Kauai the next morning.
We were floored when she said that she’s been wanting to go to Kauai for a day trip for a while now and also wanted to build up a Kauai portfolio. She said it would be her pleasure to fly out to Kauai and take our photos. She refused to take an extra dime for her flight.
And so we got great family pictures on Shipwrecks beach in front of the Grand Hyatt:
You could see how passionate she was about her craft in her emails:
Mimi sent Jonelle a picture of the collage we made of the latest shoot, something we often do after a photo shoot:
Sadly, I just learned from this GoFundMe (disclaimer: Non-tznius pictures) that Jonelle battled with depression and it wound up claiming her life. Obviously that’s not something a professional discusses with their client, but I just wish I had the chance to say something that may have changed that outcome.
The GoFundMe was set up to help her daughter Ruby, who is Rafi’s age. She would speak lovingly of her at every photo shoot.
It says in Koheles that he who lives should take it to heart. I hope that if anyone reading this is going through turmoil in their own life that they speak to a professional as quickly as possible before making a decision that can’t be undone.
And so, farewell Jonelle and rest in peace. We will certainly miss you and your bright spirit. Your incredible work will be found on the walls of our home for years to come.