The Good Grief Project: How One Photographer is Providing Hope, Healing, and Helping Others

Michelle Ellsworth reflected deeply on the words of last year’s Imaging USA keynote speaker Ryan Estis. He encouraged the hundreds of photographers in the room at his keynote to make their businesses remarkable. For Michelle in particular, that started a whole new chapter for her life and photography business. 

Her personal story includes tragedies you don’t even want to think about, including the death of her 2-year-old son. But she continues to move through the pain, processing the raw elements of her life, from divorces to time in jail due to a work visa issue on a destination wedding in the UK. 

Inspired by Ryan’s words to find a way to be remarkable, which can help you tap into your why, she asked herself: “Well, what can I do with this? Just having that story alone is not enough to separate myself. So I took it a step further and I thought, what can I do with my remarkable story to make it a remarkable action? How can I turn my remarkable story into a remarkable gift and experience for others? How can I help heal others through photography now that I am healed?”

She started thinking about families that lost a child. “Family portraits are one of the hardest things a family does after a child passes away,” she says. She started the Good Grief Project to help families heal and remember their lost child through photography. For every family who books with her studio, a Good Grief photo shoot is gifted to a family who has lost a child.

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Michelle reached out to Ryan Estis after Imaging USA, and he invited her to Minneapolis for a day where she photographed him and shared how much his talk at Imaging USA meant to her. Read more about this story on Ryan Estis’s website! 

It is amazing to remember that this remarkable connection – and new direction in life – was sparked at Imaging USA, the annual conference that is so much more than photography: it is inspiration, community, opportunity, and most importantly, connection. Having the chance to meet amazing people and impactful speakers can literally change your world for the better. Register now and be part of Imaging USA 2019!