Blog header

Story Behind the Shot: Never Give Up

Published by Debs Slater · June 28th 2012

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes it’s nice to learn more about what we’re looking at. Today’s story is by Jake Moomaw...

Never Give Up by Jake Moomaw (JakeMoomaw) on
Never Give Up by Jake Moomaw

My dad introduced me to photography. When I was in second grade, he bought a Pentax K100 and taught me how to use it, the relationship between f-stop and shutter speed, and the basics of composition. Most weekends in the summer would find us up in the Rocky Mountains, shooting pictures. Those are some of my most cherished memories of childhood. My father was a Renaissance man in the truest sense: an electrical engineer, kite-maker, scrimshaw artist, mountaineer, and woodworker amongst so many other things.

On November 9th, 2009 a catastrophic stroke changed everything. The damage to his brain left him paralyzed on the right side, unable to speak, write, swallow, or do just about anything. Living a thousand miles away, I felt so helpless having to leave the hospital and fly back to Illinois. He went home with my mom a few days before Christmas with no health support at all until after the holidays. It was one of the most depressing and hopeless times we've ever been through.

Over the last two and a half years, with the help of my mom, extended family, friends and some of the best physical therapists in the state of Colorado, Dad has made some astounding progress and regained so much of his independence. He rolls six miles to the store by himself, has been tying fishing lures (one handed!) and even picked up his old K100 again and is enjoying his craft again. Mom's devotion, drive, and optimism has been just as key as Dad's determination and raw stubbornness.

This spring, my parents had a sidewalk installed in the backyard to allow Dad access to the garden. As the cement was drying, Mom scratched the words "Never Give Up" in the concrete. Three simple words that sum up their struggle so well. When I went out to visit in May, I saw the sidewalk for the first time and knew that sentence was something really special. The photo itself was such an easy thing to make but it symbolizes so much for me.

You can see more shots on this story here and to see more of Jake's work head to his 500px page.

If you have a shot with an interesting story behind it please email us at :)


Login or sign up to comment on this post.

Dioger Rodriguez  about 2 years ago
Wow!!! Thanks for sharing I just read it to my wife who went through the same situation as yours!!!!
Martin Sully  about 2 years ago
Beautiful story, thanks for sharing.
Awesome Account
Paul Howard  about 2 years ago
Beyond great Jake. Love the photo, love the background, love the whole story and the "more shots"! So well done my friend! Congratulations. Your mom and dad must be so happy to see this, and I really hope you have this framed and hanging in your house!
Jake Moomaw  about 2 years ago
Thank you all so much for your kind words. It has been nothing short of miraculous seeing the progress that Dad has made over the last two years and I am so grateful to have been able to witness and be a part of it. Thank you again Debs Slater for helping me to share this story, and thanks to the whole 500px team for hosting such a vibrant and caring community!
Debs Slater (inactive)  about 2 years ago
You're very welcome Jake. Thanks for the awesome words about 500px :)
Mark Richardson  about 2 years ago
Thank you for sharing this.
Shane Walsh Photography (inactive)  about 2 years ago
Brilliant story!
Muddasir Javed  about 2 years ago
Bravo to you and your mom. Such stories are what give an image its raw power. Very moving......
Jerry Varghese  about 2 years ago
Samantha Shea (inactive)  about 2 years ago
very beautiful :)
Marc Melander  about 2 years ago
What a very moving and heart warming story. God bless you and your folks.
Juan Carlos Ibarra A  about 2 years ago
Ett Venter  about 2 years ago
Man... this is what I love so much about photography. It's not always an art that a viewer will TRULY understand if they don't understand the context or the story. This photo is a great example of this. Without the story, it's "just" a photo of a sidewalk. But that story makes this photograph truly remarkable. Thanks, Jake :)

Our thoughts on photography, web development, and life. Join us for updates, interviews, reviews, and stories.

Subscribe to RSS

Popular Photos

BorrowLenses. Get 10% off your next order with the 500px gift code