I’ve been asked so many times “why did you choose to name your business Tiger Lily Photography?” The short answer to that question is that it serves as a tribute to my beautiful grandma, Dori. The long answer goes a little deeper.
Before my grandma was diagnosed with dementia, you could almost always find her in her garden. She took remarkable care of her flowers and I’m certain she knew everything there was to know about gardening. There were hostas and lady slippers and tulips, but the most memorable part of her garden to me was–you guessed it–the tiger lilies. She had tiger lily bushes planted all along the deck facing out over the lake and along the driveway leading up to the road. In fact, you could hardly go anywhere on their property without having a tiger lily in view.
I didn’t realize then just how comforting it would be to see those flowers come up year after year. After my grandma’s dementia took away her ability to tend to her garden, the flowers never really fell under anyone else’s care.
Yet, even now, her garden is still as beautiful as ever, despite the fact that she hasn’t set foot in that space in nearly ten years. In many ways, those tiger lilies became a symbol of all the good times we had at the lake and of all the love that was shared in that home.
My grandparents actually helped raise my sister and I when we were younger. My mom had gone through a divorce and had recently moved the three of us from Canada (where we were born) back to Minnesota (where she grew up). We were still so little and she was a single mom doing everything in her power to create a great life for us (which she absolutely did and for that she will always be my hero). She was probably going through hell – working like crazy while also going back to school, but my sister and I had no idea. At that point all we knew was that we got to spend a little extra time gardening and baking krumkake with my grandma and swimming and going on long walks with my grandpa.
Memories of the tiger lilies at the lake don’t just symbolize my grandma, they remind me where I came from. They remind me of what my family has gone through to make sure I made it out on the other side. They remind me of the tremendous sacrifices my mom made for my sister and I and of the sacrifices my grandparents made when they chose to take such an active role in our lives.
My grandma’s dementia took her memories, personality, and ultimately her life, but she still lives on in so many ways. We are blessed to have hundreds of photos of her through every stage of her life! I’m so grateful that I will be able to share so many beautiful, vibrant photos of my grandma with my future children and that her legacy will continue to live on through my business.
As a photographer, I have always wanted to capture the raw and the real – the photos that, when you look at them throughout the years, can make you smile, laugh or cry because you can still remember exactly how you felt in that moment.
My goal is to preserve my clients’ most cherished and special memories so that they will have something tangible to hold onto long after those moments have passed. When the glitz and glamour of your wedding day fades and the hard times hit, I want your photos to be a daily reminder that your love can endure anything. No matter what season of life you’re in, it’s my mission to give you a beautiful, perfectly imperfect snapshot into the moment in time when your photos were taken.
In loving memory of Doris L. Mjolsness | 1929-2018
with love, Emily