Home Events Photographing a Missionary’s Return from Croatia

Photographing a Missionary’s Return from Croatia

by dav.d

If you have ever walked through the Salt Lake City International Airport you may have noticed large families gathered with huge banners with the words “Elder” or “Sister” on them. These are families that are waiting to welcome back family members who have finished serving an 18-month or 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

*Update, at the bottom of the post, I have added the video I created for this event, woo hoo!

People gather at the SLC International Airport to welcome missionaries

People gather at the SLC International Airport to welcome missionaries

I was hired to photograph the return of Elder Isom as he returned from his 2-year mission to Croatia. While he served there he learned several languages because the cities and regions have a similar but different language unique to their region. They also asked if I could shoot some video—I’ll blog more about the video at a later date.

Elder Isom spies his family

Elder Isom spies his family

This was the critical moment to capture that first moment mom hugs her son. Mom claimed dibs and warned all family members not to get in the way. I wouldn’t be surprised if violence ensued if someone got to Elder Isom first.

Mom rushes her missionary son

Mom rushes her missionary son

2 years worth of hugs

2 years worth of hugs

Elder Isom breaks down

Elder Isom breaks down

This is the shot to end all shots. Mom’s embrace of her son. During a mission the family communicates via email or letters once a week. There are phone calls at Christmas and on Mother’s Day. Other than that, that is it!

Happy tears from mom for her son

Happy tears from mom for her son

Dad and son

Dad and son

And here is the whole family. We had fun navigating the swarm of people welcoming home their missionaries. There were about 8 missionaries by my guess. Some of the missionaries had left for Croatia together 2 years ago and they returned together.

The whole family back together

The whole family back together

Here is one of the welcome home signs. They can be pretty elaborate.

The welcome signs

The welcome signs

Elder Isom meets up with some old companions

Elder Isom meets up with some old companions

I think there were about 3-4 photographers and videographers there for the various missionaries. It’s a big event!

These missionaries left for Croatia together 2 years ago and returned together

These missionaries left for Croatia together 2 years ago and returned together

Update! I have finished editing the video of the event. It’s now on YouTube, hurrah!

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