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Healing Through Pictures: Photographer Reaches Out For Help After Losing Brother To Gun Violence

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Logan Square woman is dealing with a tragedy so many Chicago families know: he pain of losing a loved one to gun violence.

What Franchester Williams didn't expect was the help – from strangers – that came pouring in when she asked.

CBS 2's Marie Saavedra has the story.

Franchester Williams is busy inside her Logan Square studio, with all kinds of clients ready for their closeups.

And that's good, because this photographer has dived into her work to distract from her grief.

"Doing this helped me from crying all the time," she said.

Two weeks ago, William's brother, Frederick, was a victim of gun violence, killed at his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

"He loved his family. He had two kids. He loved his babies. I don't know, it's hard. How do you wrap somebody up in a few minutes?" she said.

To bury him, the family needed to raise funds, and Williams helped the best way she knew how; by taking photos, at a discount, and she put out the call to Logan Square on Facebook.

"I just made up a flyer, and put it out there, and just got the word out to as many people as possible," she said.

And it worked. It's how Harold Woods booked his shoot.

"One, she's a close friend of mine, and so I know what all she was going through," he said. "And, you know, it's a small business, and especially during COVID, I know a lot of small businesses have been hit hard. So I felt like this is the least I could do."

Strangers felt the same way too. In a matter of days, Williams had 10 bookings and several donations, from people who'd never met her or her brother.

"Everyone that comes in and they do the shoot, they will say, 'I give my condolences,' and I'm like, 'I appreciate your support.' That means a lot," Williams said.

She hopes the pictures she takes give her customers the kind of comfort photos of her brother now bring to her.

"I like capturing moments, you know, for family to be able to look back," she said.

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