‘When will this nightmare ever stop?’: Photographer shares stunning portraits of senior before Oxford school shooting 

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To many, the words love, hope, and dreams are synonymous with horses.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

On a beautiful and somewhat windy August evening, I made the 45-minute drive from my studio to Lapeer, Michigan in eager anticipation for my portrait session with high school senior Kylie Alexandra Ossege – Oxford High School class of 2022 – and her horse Blaze.

As a portrait artist and horse lover, I am always especially excited for equestrian senior sessions.

I arrived at the barn and was met by Kylie and her mom Marita while being simultaneously greeted affectionately by a black barn cat named Sirius.

girl who was shot in oxford shooting with the barn cat
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must

I was immediately struck by the gorgeous field of golden flowers to the right of the property and I knew that the combination of Kylie, Blaze, and the eventual sunset was going to be a dream combination.

Marita informed me that they were going to go ‘finish putting Blaze’s tail on,’ a random fact that made me laugh as I wasn’t aware that horses sometimes wear ‘tail extensions’ for show purposes.

Kylie and Marita showed me the lay of the land and we loaded all of Kylie’s clothing changes into a golf cart which provided an easy way for us to navigate the terrain. We were working within a short window of time to capture the prettiest light: the golden hour.

Beautiful Kylie and her sweet nature, with her long flowing dark hair standing next to majestic Blaze, was a sight to behold.

senior who was shot in oxford shooting petting her horse at golden hour
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must
senior who was shot in oxford shooting with her beautiful horsse
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must
senior who was shot in oxford shooting on her horse smiling
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must
girl who was shot in oxford shooting with her horse being held close
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must

At the end of our session when the mosquitoes were out in droves, we armed ourselves with practically an entire bottle of insect repellant and made our way into that beautiful dreamy field of wildflowers where magic was created.

Since we had ventured off the beaten path away from the barn poor Blaze was literally being bugged by a multitude of insects in the field and spooked by the noise of passing cars.

However, Kylie kept him calm with her gentle demeanor, their bond immeasurable.

high school senior with her horse at golden hour posing for a portrait
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must

Getting to know this kind-hearted and sweet-natured intelligent high school senior and capturing her in all her innocent happiness, capturing her in all her innocent happiness as she was about to enter her senior year of high school, is now in stark contrast to the unimaginable horror she’s experienced and devastating injuries she has sustained.

It’s too much to comprehend.

When will this nightmare ever stop, children shooting children in our schools?

As we mourn the innocent lives lost, please consider donating to help Kylie heal.

I hope that someday soon she will be back in the saddle riding Blaze in endless fields of flowers.”

girl shot in oxford shooting smiling and in the flowers at golden hour
Courtesy of Marla Michele Must

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Marla Michele Must, MPP, Master Portrait Artist. Link to Kylie’s GoFundMe here. You can follow Marla on InstagramFacebook, and her website. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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