A lot of photographers have catchy names for their businesses. Or some some just use their first and last time. So I am always asked how I came up with the name “Miss Z Photography”.
In order to explain, I must go way back to the early 1980’s. My mother had braided my long dark hair in two braids – one on each side. I wore a plaid red dress and little paten leather shoes. It was my first day of kindergarten. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze as I waited with my mom for the teacher to come out and welcome us in. There was another little girl waiting with her dad. She wore her hair just like I did – in two braids, only hers were blond. She, too, had on a dress and paten leather shoes. We ran over to each other, and though we didn’t know each other, we started playing. And by the time the bell rang and the kindergarten teacher came out to get us, we were best friends. No,we really were. That was the day I met Beth Pacheco. From that day on, we had many adventures. We went to girl scouts together, we had sleepovers at each other’s houses, and we went to each others birthday parties. We had playdates at each other’s houses. Before long, we were in high school together and both in the drama club (she was much more talented than I was and always had a role in the plays singing and dancing. I preferred to be behind the scenes and I was in charge of the spot lights.) Fast forward some years, and she was at my Bachelorette Party and I teased her as she was visibly uncomfortable at the Chippendales show we were at. Skip ahead a few years after that, and she made me the most beautiful baby shower for my first my daughter. After I had my daughter, Beth and I started having weekly meet ups.. Just as when we were kids, we continued to have adventures.
Then, the end of January 2011, Beth complained about feeling run down and had some lower back pain. I teased her that she was probably pregnant (she wasn’t). She was going to school for a Master’s Degree in Education and she was working 60 hours a week as a manager at J. Jill. Who wouldn’t be tired and rundown with a schedule like that? Then in mid February, she called me up sounding horrible. She said she had bronchitis and was having trouble catching her breath. The local urgent care gave her an inhaler and an antibiotic. However, it wasn’t working. She went back a week later and they changed her medicine. It still wasn’t working. So she went back a third time and they said it was pneumonia and sent her to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, she was severely dehydrated, so they admitted her. They ran some blood work and came back and told her she had liver cancer! Everyone was shocked! How could this be? Her parents and husband decided to transfer her from the local hospital to a big hospital in Boston. She was admitted on a Friday. All weekend long, they ran tests. On Monday February 28th, 2011, they had a diagnoses. Beth had melanoma. But it had spread everywhere – to her lungs (hence the coughing and not being able to catch her breath), her liver (the back pain), her ovaries, and her bones. There was nothing they could do. They gave her 2 weeks to live. My world was rocked. This must just be a terrible nightmare. It was so surreal. It couldn’t be true. Beth chose to spend her last days at her parents house, in the room she grew up in. I was blessed to visit her a few times after she came home from the hospital. Those 2 weeks that was such an unimaginably short time, became even shorter. Beth passed away 6 days later in the early hours on Sunday March 6, 2011.
So what does this tragic story of me losing one of my best friends have to do with my photography? Two things. 1. Beth always believed in me and knew I would be successful with my photography. 2. She always called my daughter Miss T. When I started thinking of names for my photography business, I first thought of “Miss T Photography”. However, I knew I wanted to have more children. It wouldn’t be fair then to name my business after one of my children. Since my last name begins with a Z, the next logical name was “Miss Z Photography”. Every time I take a picture of a newborn, I snap a shot of a giggling 6 month old baby, I laugh as a 1 year stuffs their face with cake, or I capture a beautiful pregnant woman, I think of Beth. I know she’s looking down on me and with me.
Abrah Zion, of Miss Z Photography, is an award winning maternity, newborn, baby and child photographer in New Bedford, MA. She serves all over the SouthCoast and New England with her satisfied clients deriving from Boston, Providence, Cape Cod and even New York!