The Brave Project | My story

I wanted to share a picture of me my husband took of my scars with you guys. Not many of you know my story or have seen my scars because I often hide both of them. I wish I could tell you when they first told me I had a heart condition (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) that I was poised and calm. I wish I could tell you guys that with each scar I braved the surgeon’s hand and went under with faith and tenacity. I wish I could say that the night before I had open heart, I was calm, cool, and collected. I wish I could say that these scars don’t represent who I am and that they don’t cripple me. I wish I could say that I’m healthy and living each day to the fullest. But if I can be completely honest, each time I went under the knife I was scared to death. Each time I questioned the existence of a good God because why would He let me go through something like this. The night before I had open heart, I cried on my living room floor while my friends held me and prayed over me. Every day I wake up with pain on my chest from the scars that have built up extra scar tissue. Some days I want to lay in bed and do nothing because that’s what my body desires. I think this is why they call us heart warriors. We may feel all those things described above but we’re still here. Our hearts are still beating. Warriors are described as courageous and vigorous and through our experiences that’s what we become. We all have a story. We all have something tragic that has happened and we have had big beautiful moments to counteract the hard times. In the moments that I look into my sweet baby boy’s eyes, I remember the good God that held my hand through the surgeries despite my questions. In the moments my husband holds me, I remember the good God that never left my side. In the moments my family brings countless laughters, I remember the good God who brought joy to me in times I felt weakest. In the moments my mom encourages her little heart out to me, I remember the good God whose love is relentless. In the moments when I watch the sun rise above the horizon and pierce through the dark sky, I am reminded of a good God that promises joy in the morning. This is why I am a photographer. I capture the moments that God has let me live another day to see. I love watching families run around and act goofy. I love watching two people become one on their wedding day. I love holding newborn babies and imagining what they’re gonna be when they grow up. Capturing what the marching of time sweeps away too quickly is part of my calling. Thank you for reading my story. I would love to tell yours. Here’s how to apply to be part of The Brave Project.


The Brave Project

Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved taking pictures. Something about reliving a moment that would never happen again is what stirred the constant need to have a disposable camera in my little glittery purse. When I was 15 I had a quinceanera, which is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday and her transition from childhood to adulthood, typically involving a service followed by a party. With all the birthday money I got, I bought my first point and shoot. That thing was with me 24/7. I loved taking pictures of nature. I loved finding God in the smallest of details. I would venture out to the woods and just take pictures of whatever I could and delighted in the presence of my God. It’s no coincidence to me that in the same year of my newfound passion with photography, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. I was devastated. That year was a whirlwind of doctor visits and realizing things that felt normal to me like a fast heart rate were actually signs of things getting worse. Soon after the whole family got checked, as it was hereditary. We found out my baby brother has the same condition. My camera slowly collected dust as the year went by and the joy that I had found in the little things soon grew distant in my mind. That same year, I had my first surgery (an ICD placement). Then, to top off the year, I got shocked by the ICD five times in a row. Safe to say, my little ol’ now 16-year-old self grew weary and depressed. I had lost the faith I once held so dearly to me. I questioned the existence of a good God but at the same time cried out to Him for the comfort and peace that He promised me.

One morning I picked up my camera and drove myself to the lake. I watched the sun rise and paint the morning sky with colors I’d never seen before. The fog lifted off the lake like a fairy tale. I watched the geese sit under the tree as the sun broke through the branches, forming the prettiest shadow and light contrast. I had found Him again. Slowly but surely I broke free from the chains of depression and found joy again.

Now that I’m a wife and mother, I find God’s masterpiece in Philip’s smile and Caeden’s eyes. I am reminded of God’s tangible love when I’m shooting an engagement session and see the ooey gooey eyes the couple have for one another. I am reminded of God’s unfailing promises when I am capturing a wedding and watch two hearts become one. When I am shooting a newborn session, I am thankful for new life and how God makes beautiful things out of us. I love celebrating with seniors at their accomplishments and future endeavors.

Now that I’m older, still surviving, and getting healthier, I find myself filled with compassion for those who are in the same boat that I was in – families that are in a situation that require bravery. I think not many people think about taking family portraits at time where they’re emotionally drained and financially strapped. Their main concern probably is their baby’s next breath or worrying about if their husband will be returning from war. It sounds disheartening but I know that some people are in that season of their life. I want to be able to help capture what the marching of time sweeps away too quickly.

That’s why I came up with the Brave Project.

I want to be able to provide families with a lifetime of memories by capturing them in their moments of bravery as a family. Whether it be the love between a soldier and their significant other, or the strength between siblings when one of them has none left, I want to be there and make their story known. I want to document their lives and remind them that their situation matters and that someone out there thinks they’re worth photographing.

The Process

We will be trying to do a family or two a month depending on our availability. You can contact us or be nominated by a friend. Please go to our contact page and fill out the form. Let us know it’s for the Brave Project. We would love to hear your/their story and how soon they need photographing. We will try to give everyone a chance but do know that some situations are more urgent than others, so please be patient with us. We will be documenting our experiences, so we’ll need you/them to sign a release. Since we are still a small company, we are only doing this for people in the north Georgia area. We are not collecting any money from these families.

Here’s a link to my story.

Abby Stancil Giveaway!

Hey, friends!

I hope you’re all excited about the giveaway! All of these items are from some of my favorite artists. I can’t wait for someone to win and have fun with all these prizes! Right now Facebook is making me wait 14 days to change my name so when you go to like “Abby Stancil Photography” the link has already been changed but the page name will say Genare. That’s the same page! I know it’s a bit confusing but I think we can make it through this! : ) There are a few things you need to do to enter the giveaway – scroll down and fill out the form at the bottom! Happy “liking” and sharing, friends!

For the month of September all shoots except weddings (but don’t worry we have a little something for you, too!) will receive 10% off their session. For all you soon to be married folks, we will be giving every wedding that books with us this month a free photo booth ($250 value) at your wedding! You don’t have to do the session in September, just need a deposit and a booking date.

Okay! Now for the giveaway! Ready. Set. Go!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big announcement!

Hey, friends!!

So the big announcement is here! No I am not pregnant (for now) but this project has felt like a pregnancy in itself. Lol. We’ve worked hard and stayed up countless nights to perfect this moment. We are saying goodbye to our company Genare and completely rebranding our business’. I am now Abby Stancil Photography! Eeeek! It’s everything I’d hope to be and more! Everything is changing but for the better. I am so thankful for all my clients that supported me and loved me through the past 3 years. Each and every single one of you have a special place in my heart. I have been a part of big moments, sad moments, victorious moments, life-changing moments and I can probably tell the story behind every photo ever taken by me. God has truly blessed me with the best team and the greatest clients. To celebrate all of you awesome people, I gathered some of my favorite artists and got some cool things to giveaway! Let the celebration begin! You will be able to enter the giveaway soon! But for now, you can drool over these awesome prizes! I’ve also included a link to their shops and websites so you can see what all they have to offer!

End of Summer mini session with me || If you’re not around this area, I’ll throw in something special for ya!
– Patchwork mini blanket from Blue Cotton Sky
– A logo for you or a friend from Modern Marketing
– Hammered brass earrings and a skinny cuff leather bracelet from Simply Adored Jewelry
– Life is a beautiful ride print from Yellow Bungalow Shop
– Flower crown from TheJaxCo
– Unique hand carved mug from Erica Lackey Art
– Toddler Loved by the King t-shirt from Simple Truths Design 
– A bunch of little goodies that keep me going from day to day.

Ahhhh! I’m so happy and excited! Unfortunately I won’t be able to start the giveaway until Facebook lets me change my name. Once it does, we will start the giveaway! Thank you!!!

End of Summer Mini Sessions

I am so excited about this mini session! My creative director and I have been working hard getting little details ready for you guys and I think we’ve nailed it! This particular mini session is intended for the whole family to get in on! Here are some preview pics and will be adding more preview pics this week! Hope everyone has an awesome Labor Day! We will be doing these sessions Sept. 18th-21st from 6:00-7:30 pm in Gainesville, GA. For this mini session only, any former Genare clients will be able to lock in the old prices of $50 per mini session. We do this to say thank you for supporting us on this journey. For everyone else the price will be $65. There will be a $20 nonrefundable deposit to save your spot! There are only only 20 spot so start booking today!