Claire & Matthew | Fort Campbell, Kentucky Lifestyle Photography – Part 2

Almost 4 years ago, I watched two of my very best friends in the world walk down the aisle of a church that was so familiar and felt something similar to pride. Our small circle of friends with our many years of friendship, vacations and late night conversations had produced a kind of magic; something tangible and inherently valuable. Love. It began as a love born out of friendship but grew to something much more substantial and sustaining and the ability to witness and be an integral part of their journey was one of the more amazing things I’ve ever been priviledged to be a part of. However, photographing their tearful reunion in an airplane hangar on an Army base in Kentucky last month? Wins. Hands down.

This experience that I was granted access to…trust me when I say it moved me in a way I did not expect. No matter your thoughts on the war or the politics behind it, witnessing hundreds of soldiers, who have risked their lives every single day in an environment where the word hostile doesn’t even begin to cover it, return home to their families after being away for so long is enough to make even the harshest cynic wave a flag at these men & women. The wife who crumbled to the ground in tears upon seeing her husband with her children gathered in her arms made me love my own husband even more. Hearing a little boy on the shoulders of his dad, joyously yell out “mommy” repeatedly until he found his mother’s face brought me to tears. But most poignantly, observing my best friend’s entire being radiate love when she saw Matthew – to see her throw her hands out towards his marching body; you cannot witness these things and not be changed.

Matthew & Claire. I hope I did this experience justice for you. It was the most beautiful & honest moment I have ever photographed and it truly was an honor to be a part of.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made as a couple and as individuals serving our country. I love you both more than words.

Click here to view Part One.

(21) Comments

  1. Gosh, who ever can even get to the pictures without bawling through your words is one jaded soul! Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Tears before even looking at the pictures, Melissa. What an amazing project. I know your friends will treasure these photos for the rest of their lives. Truly beautiful.

  3. i’m speechless. these are fantastic.

  4. OH MY! Love these…tearing up at my computer while reading this and seeing the emotion! HOLY MOLY, what an experience! I love this so much! :)

  5. Whitney Crosser

    Beautiful, Melissa. Love them.

  6. Melissa, these are so beautiful! My close friend just married an army man so I know how precious homecomings are. You had me tearing up.

  7. Amy G

    amazing pictures! they could be in time magazine or something like that. i love seeing the yearning in everyone’s eyes. God is so good!

  8. Anna

    This is so wonderful. I love how you can take a shot that has so much emotion, and specialness, and it is something that I would most likely overlook. Kudos!

  9. Shannon Fox

    Amazing! What beauty to see such familiar faces looking so happy. =) So happy for you Claire and Matt!

  10. Melissa- flat out amazing! You words alone had me in tears! What an amazing story. Your images capture so well the emotion of the experience. Sheer beauty. xo

  11. Sarah Moore

    You’re amazing! Love these!!!! Love you!!!!!!

  12. Very cool! Yeah for film! LOVEe

  13. jacob mengelkoch

    whoa. these images are so intense, I had chills while reading the post and looking at the images.

  14. Abigail Sharp


  15. Kristen

    Fantastic and moving shots. Beautiful shots and beautiful friends! Love your perspective and your appreciation for our Soldiers.

  16. Kristin Rogers

    Absolutely amazing! Great job Melissa! Already had tears reading your message, then they followed with the pictures!

  17. Melissa, you captured this precious moment perfectly! So beautiful and I loved reading your perspective.

  18. Camille

    I love you. I just love you…

  19. yay! Thank you so much! We will treasure these. Thank you so much for being there with us!!!

  20. Girl, your work brings tears to my eyes!

  21. Anna

    Wonderful pictures. The anticipation is so many emotions rolled into one big wait for that plane to land, the doors to the hanger to open, and the permission to run to your love. They will all treasure being captured in film to enjoy the moment.