Sheri Kendrick / Founder & Executive Director
Early in her career, she received a request to photograph a gentlemen, who had been given only 24-48 hours to live, and his wife, at their home. “It was a powerful experience,” Sheri says. “I lead them through a series of poses that facilitated connection between them. I captured images ranging from the two of them belly laughing to a quiet embrace, eyes closed, just breathing each other in. All three of us were very aware that those moments were quite special. It felt sacred.” Sheri received an emotional call later that day from the gentleman’s wife thanking her for the photo shoot and explaining that their lives since her husband’s diagnosis had been consumed with doctor visits and treatments and everything that goes along with dealing with a terminal illness. She told Sheri that she couldn’t even remember the last time when they laughed together and held each other like they did during the photo shoot. It was then that Sheri first had the idea of specializing in end of life photography.
Since then, Sheri has photographed many clients, most who have been children, with significant medical and cognitive challenges. Her idea to specialize in end of life photography expanded to the organization’s current mission statement: to offer complimentary portrait services to families who have children fighting a life-threatening illness. “Quite often, these families are financially devastated and are unable to afford professional photography. Many children are hospitalized and/or are dependent on life support which presents even further difficulty in having family portraits made,” she said. Sheri’s vision became a reality when she founded Little Light of Mine in the spring of 2014 and over the past three years, it has grown from one person’s passion to a 501(c)(3) with a core of dedicated volunteers and a growing team of photographers who offer their time and talent to the mission.
Sheri says she knew doing this kind of work would be rewarding but she had no idea how life-changing it would be for her. “This work grounds me,” she says. “I have witnessed some of the most beautiful, unforgettable displays of love and courage by doing this work.”
Her goal is to offer high quality images to every family in the Tampa Bay Area that is faced with the possibility of losing their child that convey the love, vulnerability and strength they shared at that particular place and time.