Who is Jessie Dains?

The story behind the name.

Jessie Dains is a tribute to Shannon’s late Grandmother.

Because she taught her the importance of love, family and friends.

Here is Shannon’s story of the day the beloved photographs were taken of Jesse Dains:

In April 2013, my Mum and my Nan (Jessie Dains) came to visit in Brisbane. We’d always wanted to get some nice photos together, and Josh offered.

Nan, a shy and humble lady who had never really liked having her photo taken, wasn’t too keen at first. But after I explained to her how important it would be to me, she obliged. Getting ready for our photos was fun. I put mascara on Nan. Which ended up being hilarious because not once in her life had she ever worn it.

We all piled into Josh’s car and out we went to an abandoned school in Pinkemba. The location was amazing! Mum and I could tell Nan was a little nervous. Once Josh started shooting us, Nan suddenly seemed more at ease.

We wandered through the tall grass, sun setting behind us, talking about old times and Pop who we’d lost a couple of years prior. When it was time to get some single shots of her, Josh made her laugh. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she laughed so hard her cheeks hurt. It was so nice to see her like this. I literally had butterflies in my stomach.

The next day Mum and Nan went back to the country. The morning after that, I received a phone call that Nan had suffered a severe stroke and was being rushed to the closest hospital in Newcastle. So I jumped on a plane and headed down to be by her side. After a few days we knew Nan wasn’t going to get any better. She was suffering tremendously. She just wanted to go home. So I got on a tiny hospital plane with her, and brought her home. Sadly we lost her 3 days later.

Suddenly these photos became the most precious thing we owned. Going through them, my Mum and I reminisced about the amazing time we had that afternoon in the grass.  How we laughed. And how Josh brought out a special twinkle in her eye. One that had been missing for a long time. She was happy. And that’s Jessie Dains. Love, family, laughter and capturing moments that last forever.

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These photographs of Jesse Dains will be cherished forever. Whenever Shannon or her mother miss Jesse they can look upon these photos and see that smile in the crinkles of Jesse’s face – a blazing smile that lit up the whole day. Shannon’s mum now has these photos and they are one of her prized possessions – because a photo is so much more than just an image. A photo is a trigger to remind yourself of what you felt that day. A photo is the best way to relive the past. And to think if we hadn’t done this shoot on that fateful day, there’d be no record of Jesse in her final healthy days.

For generations to come people can look at these photos and see a woman who is just enjoying life. There is something pure and enriching in that. To see a person’s laughter and uncontained joy immortalised forever in an image.