Magazine  >  Issue 61  >  Healing While Paying it Forward

Healing While Paying it Forward

The John & Schoep effect—how one pay it forward event has changed lives forever.

The original intent of my famous John and Schoep photo was as a "pay it forward" gift to a man who loved his dog and thought his best friend was at the end of his long and happy life. It turned in to so much more than that.

Over the course of a few years, John and I had occasionally talked about doing a photo session, and on a sunny, hot afternoon in July of 2012, I took a photo of the two of them in the cool waters of Lake Superior. It was one of the most touching moments I have ever seen between two beings. People have often asked me if the photo was set up. It wasn't. The love between the two of them is not something you can create artificially. As a narrative photographer, I capture what is going on in front of me, without direction or interruption. I do not pose or say "look here" because it ruins the moment. Love at it's best is without interference by outside influences, and the John and Schoep photo is my greatest example of that. The session took less than 5 minutes, and in those 5 minutes, lives were changed forever.

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