Photographer brings woman's late husband back in family portrait: 'It looks so real'

/ Source: TODAY

It's a photo they'll cherish forever.

A year after Stephanie Summers' husband died, she wanted to re-create the anniversary photos they'd once taken — this time, with her son, whom her husband never got to meet.

Summers, of El Paso, Texas, contacted Laura Gordillo, who did the couple's original photo shoot, and the result is a powerful image of the entire family.

Gordillo transposed an image of Summers' late husband Taurean next to the mom and boy. In the moving photo, it appears that he's looking down lovingly on his wife and young son.

"It took me so long to edit, I was crying so much," Gordillo, a photographer who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, told TODAY. "As a mom and a wife, it took a lot out of me."

"The picture turned out so pretty, and it looks so real," she added.

Taurean Summers, a paramedic, died in a plane crash while on duty in August 2014. His wife was pregnant at the time.

Laura Gordillo

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Gordillo had taken photos of the couple in 2013. For the re-created shoot, she took Summers and her son to the same locations they'd been before, a park and the downtown area of El Paso.

Laura Gordillo

That happened last year, but Gordillo recently re-posted the image on her Facebook page, where it went viral all over again.

"I'm so happy that Stephanie and baby Taurean have this image to cherish forever," she wrote.

Gordillo said she's gotten hundreds of emails, messages and phone calls about the photo, with many people asking about Summers and the boy.

Summers told TODAY "it's been very hard" getting over the loss of her husband, and declined a more detailed interview.

But she still keeps in touch with Gordillo, who said the mom and her son are doing well.

Laura Gordillo

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"Her son just started school and every morning he looks at the picture and says, 'Bye, Dad,'" she said. "And every night he tells him he loves him."

Gordillo said Summers' story proves how powerful a single photo can be.

"Embrace every moment and take as many pictures as you can," she said. "You never know when it's going to be all over."