Artists find inspiration from many sources. However, for most artists, it is the events that take place in their everyday life that give them the inspiration they need to be creative. Lora Scantling found inspiration for some of her most powerful photographs after learning that her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. The profound effect her father’s diagnoses had on her inspired her to photograph three young girls, each with a unique type of cancer, in a very special and memorable photo shoot. Not long after the photo shoot hit the Internet, it was a viral sensation.
Part of the reason why Lora Scantling’s photographs captured the heart and imagination of millions of people was because of the photograph subjects. It included three little girls, Rylie, age 3, Rheann, age 6, and Ainsley, age 4. They were all posed together in a warm and meaningful embrace. As a result of the chemotherapy, all three girls were hairless. Yet, they looked like little dolls. They were adorned in beautiful frilly dresses, pearls, and a headband with flowers. Although the three girls looked as if they could have been sisters, or childhood friends, the fact was that the three girls were strangers. They were all at different stages of battling the same challenge. The younger two girls were in remission. However, the oldest girl’s fate was still uncertain. As people saw the photograph and they realized that Rheann was not in remission, messages and prayers of hope for her recovery went out by the thousands. In an almost miraculous turn of events, Rheann’s health improved.
As time went on, the three girls remained in remission. This positive story moved Lora Scantling so much that she decided it would be a good idea to do follow up stories on these three beautiful little girls.
Four months after the original shoot, the three girls were gathered together to take another photograph. In this photograph, the three girls were once again positioned in the same way that they were in the first photograph. There were some noticeable changes in this photograph. First, all three of the girls were in remission. Second, the oldest girl, Rheann, was a touch taller, and the youngest two girls were starting to regrow their hair. Unfortunately, because of the type of cancer Rheann had, her hair loss is permanent. But this did nothing to detract from the magic of the photograph. What people saw when they looked at this photograph was three little girls who went through a harrowing situation and who in their own little ways were showing signs that they were getting better. Once again, the Internet could not get enough of this photograph.
In 2016, Lora decided to reunite the girls and their families for a third time. In this picture, instead of having the girls embracing one another, the photograph shows the three girls holding the original picture that was taken of them. All three of them are still dressed up like little dolls with beautiful headpieces and frilly dresses. At the time the third picture was taken, all three of the girls were cancer free. It is amazing to see how much the three girls have changed.
When these girls met for the very first picture, they were strangers. At an early age, all three of these girls had seen firsthand how difficult and challenging life could be. After the photograph, the three girls formed a bond that is unbreakable. Through their friendship, through their positive spirit, and through there will to get better, these three girls have inspired the world. They are an unbelievable example of strength and courage.