Mark Veness, a practice director here at Cognosante, found portrait photography as a creative outlet in 2015. Shortly after landing on this hobby, Mark was encouraged by a friend to volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) as a remembrance photographer.
NILMDTS is a remembrance photography service that helps families through the healing process. The organization provides free portraits, made possible through the support of skilled volunteer photographers. These images allow families and loved ones to remember and honor their babies that have passed away. NILMDTS remembrance photography “validates the existence and presence of these precious babies by honoring their legacy” (‘About Us’, NILMDTS).
NILMDTS currently has a network of almost 2,000 active volunteer photographers. The organization accepts volunteers in nine countries and has a presence in every state across the United States. The volunteers generally receive very little notice when their services are requested, and they may be called upon at any time of the day or night.
Three years after beginning his volunteer journey, Mark has completed 14 sessions at local hospitals in Knoxville, TN. “My Mom served as a neonatal intensive care nurse for many years, and I took that as a sign that I should pursue volunteering for this amazing organization. The photo sessions and post-processing can be emotionally draining, but helping families start on their journey of healing is a genuine privilege every time.”