For her last year of high school, a Nebraska teenager made her late military father an “angel” in her senior portraits.
When Julia Yllescas was 7 years old, her father Rob was killed by a IED (a man-made explosive device) while deployed in Afghanistan. Wanting her father to participate in her “milestone” year, the 17-year-old incorporated the late captain’s image into her class photos.
Julia’s mom Dena turned to friend and Lincoln, Nebraska, photographer Susanne Beckmann of Snapshots by Suz, for the family shots, later posted on Facebook.
As the wife of an active member of the National Guard, Beckmann felt privileged to photograph the teen. “I was happy to give back to this family because, in a way, I know what they're going through,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We had talked about taking angel photos for years.”
On Saturday, the family set up by a lake near Beckmann’s home and Julia sat on a log covered with a piece of red-white-and-blue fabric. Dena, a stand-in for her late husband, sat next her daughter, and Beckmann later imposed a faint image of Rob taken in Afghanistan during a conversation with a local.
A second shot had Rob standing at attention, also in uniform, before his final tour in Afghanistan. “We took that photo to print on dolls for Julia and her sister Eva, who was only 5-months-old when their father died,” Dena tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Beckmann also used photo editing to place a flag inside Julia’s hands, the same one that flew over the White House on the day Rob passed away in 2008.
Beckmann tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she teared up while editing the photos and Dena was “speechless.”
After seeing the photos, Julia said, ‘Oh my goodness, this makes me sad,’” Dena tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She’s realizing that her father won’t be there for all the big milestones coming up this year.”
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