Photographer Restores Wedding Album For Couple Who Lost Everything In California's Camp Fire

A photographer brought a bit of the past back to a couple who lost everything in the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, California last November.

Like hundreds of residents in the small northern California town, Marc and Mary Taylor were for forced to run for their lives as the wildfire spread rapidly and gridlocked traffic made escaping by car almost impossible.

The Taylors — who have relocated to Grass Valley, a town 70 miles from Paradise — lost all of their photos in the blaze, including the album from their 1999 wedding.

Mary Taylor told KCRA-TV that she located one of the photographers who worked at the wedding, and asked if there was a chance they had copies of the photos.

"They came back to me and said, 'We dug immediately, and we found them. We have them.' And I told Marc, I said, 'Oh my God, they have them.' And so we both started crying," Mary told the tv station.

Mary told Marc that the photographer, Richard Briggs, had the negatives and said he would reprint the album.

"We were just like, 'That just doesn't happen,'" Marc said.

Briggs told KCRA that he has kept an archive of every photo he's taken since 1985, and though he and the Taylors hadn't seen one another in 20 years, he remembered them and their wedding.

"I remember him crying as she was walking down the aisle, and I thought, 'These people are so much in love,'" he told the tv station.

Taylor, Paradise Wildfire
Mary and Marc Taylor look through a photo album from their 1999 wedding that was remade by their wedding photographer, Richard Briggs. The Taylors lost the album, and all their other possessions, in the Camp Fire that decimated the town of Paradise, California in November 2019. Briggs restored the photos using the negatives he had kept in an archive and presented the album to the couple. KCRA-TV

Briggs said the negatives were a bit faded, but that he purchased a scanner and his wife used photo editing software to bring "color and life" back into the photos.

A few weeks later, Briggs drove to the Taylors home to give them the album, which the couple tearfully accepted as KCRA filmed the encounter. The photographer also gave the couple the negatives.
"It's the only photos that we have from the past. So, it meant a lot because we lost everything in the fire," Mary told KCRA.
"It gave us a piece of something back after losing everything. I don't know how to explain it. There's no words," Marc said.
The album also includes photos of individuals who have passed in the 19 years since the couple's wedding, one of them being Marc's mother.
"My mom, who died six days before see her pictures in there, her photos, it's's a piece of mom," Marc said.
The Taylors will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in August.
The Camp Fire is considered the deadliest forest fire in California history with 85 fatalities, most in or around Paradise. The fire burned 153,000 acres in a two-week period and destroyed 14,000 residences. Due to the devastation, the population of Paradise has declined from the 26,800 reported in the 2010 U.S. Census to roughly 2,034 in a door-to-door survey completed in April 2019.
On Monday, the first family to rebuild a home lost in the fire was given the go-ahead to move back into Paradise.