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Ben Nunery lost his wife Ali to cancer just two years after they got married. The Ohio man wanted to keep the memory of the day they became newlyweds and the home they shared alive, so he decided to re-create their wedding photos with his 3-year old daughter.
In the touching series, Olivia, wearing a pink dress, mimic’s her mom’s poses and, in one photo, curls her hair, just like her mom did on her wedding day. In another, she poses with her father in a doorway to mirror the photo Ben had once taken with her mother.
Nunery, 34, wrote on his blog that his story isn’t "about grief and loss and hurt." "Yes, I’ve gone through those emotions and still do, but that's not what I want people to see in these photos."
Nunery and his wife bought the Cincinnati house in 2009, a day before their wedding. Ali’s sister, Melanie Pace, a professional photographer, took photos of the couple on their wedding day in the empty house.
In 2011, the 31-year-old schoolteacher passed away from a rare form of lung cancer, leaving behind Ben and Olivia.
The home was empty again this year because the Nunerys were moving, so Pace was able to re-create the images of the father and daughter. Nunery, who's also a photographer, thought the photos would help them remember the joyous times they'd shared in the house.
"It immediately brought up memories of being there the first time," Nunery told Today.com. "They were really good memories I cherish and want to remember. In a lot of ways, it felt like Ali was there, and doing that with Olivia I felt a closeness with both of them."
Pace wrote on her blog that she felt her sister’s presence during the photo shoot.
"It's almost like she was nudging me along as I was shooting, telling me which places to go and what to use as props," she told Today.com "It was a very overwhelming feeling to have her so close even if she was not physically there."
Nunery said he hopes the photos would help others who have lost a loved one to heal and move on with their life.
"It doesn't mean that we forget our loved ones, but find ways to remember them and keep that memory going."