On December 14, 2017, Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson lost her “twin flame” and husband, Stuart Jackson, in a fatal motorcycle accident. The 28-year-old was pregnant at the time and had an almost 2-year-old son, Dominic, and a 6-year-old stepson, Maliq.
The mom from Oahu, Hawaii, knew her life would never be the same, but she remained focused on her family.
After Jackson’s passing, Maynetto-Jackson decided to honor him in a maternity family portrait series to show he would always be a part of the family.
Photographer Phoenix Sipin from KM Ivelisse Photography explained that Maynetto-Jackson contacted her on January 7 after seeing her images and Photoshop experience. The photographer specializes in family photography and likes to “add an element of fantasy” to lifestyle portraits to make them unique.
“[Maynetto-Jackson] asked if incorporating her husband was something I was able to do for her maternity session,” Sipin recalled. “We have all seen images of loved ones who have passed away in photos. They are usually just a shadow figure with no features, but I wanted to go the extra mile for her and do it a little differently.”
1 The resulting photo series captures an expectant Maynetto-Jackson, Dominic, and Jackson.
2 At just 28-years-old, Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson tragically lost her husband, Stuart Jackson in a fatal motorcycle accident.
3 Already a mother and pregnant with a second child at the time, the now-widow knew she had to be strong for her family.
4 Stephanie decided to commemorate her husband with a unique family photoshoot.
5 She asked photographer Phoenix Sipin to digitally incorporate Stuart into the family portraits as a ghost-like figure.
During the shoot, Sipin explains that the mood was bittersweet. "It was raining all over the island except at our location," she said. "We kept saying Stuart was there helping keep the rain away and luckily all we had were gray clouds."
Sipin says she tried to keep the session as positive as possible because of all the emotion involved in the process. "The hardest moments were when I had to pose her for the images I would be incorporating him in. The image of Stuart kneeling and kissing her belly was hard. She had to visualize him there to get the image I needed," the photographer stated. "She showed tremendous strength throughout the entire photoshoot and I am so proud of her and know that her boys are in amazing care."
7 The emotional images allow Stuart’s family to remember him as the loving father and husband he was.
"I was overwhelmed while we were shooting because as I held onto my growing belly, I knew that [Jackson] wouldn't be there to watch our children grow older," Maynetto-Jackson said. "I kept thinking about everything we talked about as far as how we would raise our children."
After the session, Sipin immediately began to edit the images. She explains that adding Jackson into the photos was "one of the hardest things [she] had to do in [her] life so far. [She] cried through all of them." In a blog post entitled "How My Client's Story Changed My Marriage" she revealed how she is a military wife herself and thought how the situation could have been her.