I sometimes truly can't believe the kind of lives I get to know and the stories I get to hear purely by being a photographer.
I came to meet Gabriella by way of referral; jumping at the chance to shoot my first homecoming and then immediately feeling apprehensive about it. I had never shot anything like this before, have no friends or family in the military and therefore knew nothing about it. The best connection I could make was videos of dogs seeing their owners for the first time after deployment. You know, the ones that absolutely destroy you into a puddle of tears and hope.
I had no idea what was about to take place but I'm so glad I experienced it.
I met up with Gabriella at the Naval Submarine Base New London, in Groton Connecticut, to wait for the submarine carrying her husband, Duane, home after four months of being away. The energy in the air was palpable - so many families and spouses gathered in the same place feeling the same exact anticipation. You could almost hear everyone's heart pounding in excitement.
While we waited, I got to know Gabriella as she shared her story. The trials of deployment, the incredible amount of patience and strength needed to get through having the person you love the most be almost unreachable. The people who go through this are undoubtedly superhuman.
Gabriella + Duane - thank you for allowing me to capture this powerful moment in your lives. Though I meet a lot of people and hear a lot of stories, I won't ever forget yours. <3