Mary Everett edits a photo of Buford’s Johnson family

It was around the fall of 2020, and Mary Everett was trying to think of ideas for affordable Christmas gifts she could give to her family. 

A 2011 graduate of Buford High School, Everett is the only daughter of Tony Harrison (BHS Class of 1963) and the late Glenda Harrison, who was receptionist at BHS from 1988 to 1998. Now a mother herself, Everett appreciates the value of family and meaningful gifts.

“I love to give gifts that will truly be cherished,” Everett said. 

As she culled through ideas, she stumbled upon some ads for paintings of families who had lost loved ones. The exquisite paintings were well out of the young mother’s budget.

She found herself lamenting over the fact that her paternal grandparents had passed away before she was born, and she would never have a photo with them. It sparked an idea.

“I thought, if they can paint it, why can’t I make it?”

Having dabbled in photography and taken up photo editing, Everett sat down at her computer. She manipulated images to create a portrait for her dad that included the entire family. 

“It turned out beautifully, and so many people responded positively that I chose to offer this service to the public and keep it affordable,” she said. “It has truly been a beautiful journey. I love making visions come true!”

Little did Everett know, but 2020 would be the last Christmas with her mom, Glenda. 

“Having lost Mom recently, it hits a little closer to home,” Everett said. “I know there will be events later down the road that I wish she had been there for. And she is there in spirit and in our hearts. Knowing that, when I’m ready, I can create these things for my family and even for myself is bittersweet.

“There was a time in October when I had people placing orders and I wasn’t sure if I could continue,” she continued. “Having just lost Mom, every picture was hard. Every moment was difficult to get though. I was fighting to get through one picture. But it got easier when the pictures were done. Because, again, I was reminded of the beauty that came at the end — the joy, the love. And all of those happy, precious memories come flooding back. The hurt won’t go away, but it’s replaced with happy tears of fond memories. And giving that to others helps me heal.”

ME | PhotoEnvy is located in Buford and specializes in providing generational photos for families who’ve lost loved ones. To learn more about Everett and her work, visit mephotoenvy.com.

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