The Camp Fire in Paradise, California, quickly became the most deadly and destructive wildfire in the state’s history; eighty-five fatalities were attributed to the Camp Fire and over 18,000 structures were destroyed in November 2018.
Thousands of people’s homes were consumed by the flames and with them, treasured items like book collections.
Marc and Mary Taylor’s home was one of the 18,000 structures lost in the fire.
“We lost everything but the clothes on our backs and our two dogs,” Mary wrote on Facebook.
As the California couple’s 20th wedding anniversary approached, Mary decided to reach out to the photographers they hadn’t seen since their wedding day, to see if they still had any copies of pictures from their special occasion.
Richard Briggs, the photographer, distinctly remembers the Taylor’s wedding. “I remember him crying as she was walking down the aisle, and I thought, ‘These people are so much in love,'” he told KCRA.
So when Mary called him to see if he still had any negatives, he wrote that his first reaction was, “Hell yes (I’m Jewish) I keep everything!”
But his second response was what brought both Marc and Mary to tears.
“They came back to me and said, ‘We dug immediately, and we found them. We have them,'” Mary said. “And I told Marc, I said, ‘Oh my God, they have them.’ And so we both started crying.”
Those three little words — “we have them” — made all the difference in the world for the couple that had lost so much.
Briggs was even surprised and delighted that the negatives were still intact enough to make more copies.
“I bought a scanner and scanned them all,” he said. “And my wife, she’s excellent in editing, and she brought back the color and the life into the photos, and from those images, I was able to make an album.”
Not only did Briggs and his wife create a new wedding album to replace the one the Taylors lost in the fire, but he also gave them the original negatives and a DVD with the photos.
“These are amazing people that have made our recovery from a devastating, and life changing experience that much easier knowing we now have the photos of our wedding to hang on the walls of our new home,” Mary wrote on Facebook.
“It gave us a piece of something back after losing everything,” Marc said. “I don’t know how to explain it. There’s no words.”
The couple is celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary on August 14, 2019, and thanks to Richard Briggs and his wife, they’ll be able to do so while looking back on pictures from the momentous day.
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