A Photography Project From My Heart by Chris

Before the fire I wasn’t sure I’d be continuing with photography in the same scope I had done in the past. My heart wasn’t there. It had become work. I was frustrated and tired.

As I dug through the rubble of my home, I entered what was left of my office and searched for my camera gear. I’d put it all away neatly the morning before. I’d collected my lenses, and camera bodies, and SD cards, loaded them all in their perspective cases and put them away in the drawers below the daybed/couch that sat in my home office. I remember the feeling, seeing it burned, knowing I that less than 24 hours earlier it wasn’t.

I dug through 12 inches of ash and debris in the location I knew that same daybed used to be. There was nothing left of it but about two inches of the bottom frame, charred and wet. I dug out what was left of all my camera gear. I pulled the melted bags, my brain flashing to putting them away earlier. I cut them open. I pulled my broken, melted and soaking wet camera bodies and lenses out. I let them fall to the floor.

Stronger Than Fire - My Office

Stronger Than Fire - Camera Equipment

For weeks I wasn’t sure if I’d ever pick up a camera again. When everything you did is destroyed you start to reevaluate who you are and the things you do for a living.

Then one day, from my phone, on a whim, I pulled the plug and ordered my basic gear again.

I didn’t use it for weeks.

It sat in the boxes, next to my brand new computer. I was scared, terrified.

Then I remembered a passion project that had been in my head for years. It was something I always wanted to shoot. As a photographer I spent my career capturing the happy moments, the moments of joy and exchange and good feelings; new babies, engagements, weddings, graduations, the new chapters of life. We share these on social media and we hang them on our walls and we perpetuate the idea that these are the moments we should celebrate because they are pivotal moments in our lives.

What I have also found is that the most life changing, personality altering moments of my life have been the harder ones. They’ve been the loss, and the pain, and the sadness. We don’t talk about these in our culture, it’s one of the reasons we started this blog. When we don’t talk about them, we leave people feeling alone in some of the most vulnerable and raw moments of life; moments when someone should not have to feel alone.

I want to photograph and capture these moments.

I started this series with Bill. We sat down with my camera and we talked. I asked him to think about what it felt like to be in the house when it was on fire.

This isn’t a traditional photo session, mostly we talk. I shoot it like I used to shoot when I shot film, carefully, utilizing the light and the camera and the moment. I’ve shot two others, which I will share here at the bottom of this post.

I’d like to shoot more for this project. I’d like to shoot families affected by Harvey, in their homes.

There’s no cost, I just need you and some of your time. Come as you are, please don’t try to do your makeup or think about what you’ll wear. That’s not what this is about. I’ll also request that you be willing to talk and be raw and vulnerable during our time together. If we shoot in your home, I will come to you.

If you are interested, please send me an email at cdiliberto at mac dot com, or leave a comment on this post with your email address and I will be in touch.

No. 2 Speaking to Issabella about loosing our dog Sam.

No. 3 in the new photography series and the first who is not blood family. Thank you @wine_lady_byrd80 for sharing your heart and pain and so much with me that night. There is pain in this photo but there is also strength and triumph and so so so much love.

This is an incredibly emotional series for me and one that I would like to shoot more of. Again if you’re interested, there is no cost. Come as you are, and please be willing to be vulnerable and open with me. Send me an email or leave a comment here and I will contact you. Thank you for considering this and for reading.




  1. Melissa Estes on September 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I want you to take one of me and my mastectomy scar.

    • admin on September 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Yes Melissa! Please text me your availability.

  2. Heidi on September 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Love this and love you!!!

  3. Bridgette M Mongeon on September 14, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I love this project and your work. If it were possible I would love to see a contrast. As someone who has studied the face and emotion it would be great to see a contrast in your dialogue. Capture what you are capturing here and then capture a second shot that is taken when they are talking about the hope and promise. I would be so curious to study these shots side by side.