724 N Humphreys St Flagstaff, AZ 86001

(928) 779-4151

Joanne and Silvano: Now reunited

She stood close, playing with my hair, smiling at me, beams of love shooting at me from those big eyes. “Honey, can we hire you to come to my 80th birthday party and take some pictures for me?” “Thank you for asking me, Joanne. I’m not an event photographer, but I promise to find someone to take great care of you.” Still locked in eye contact, still playing with my hair, in her sweet voice she said intently “Honey, if you can’t do it, I dont want anybody else.”

Flagstaff Couples Portrait , Married 60 Plus Years

I’d known Joanne and Silvano since I’d been assigned to photograph them for the cover of a magazine a few years ago. They sat down on my office couch on a Wednesday morning and I was instantly enthralled. They shared their story. Many stories, actually. Too many to write about here. 

They’d been married for 60 years when I met them and the love was still palpable. When Sil immigrated to the US from Italy at 14, he tried to join the high school football team. Because he was only 95 pounds, the coach (who was also Italian) worried for his safety. When Sil spotted Joanne, a beautiful majorette, he pivoted to join the band instead. Smart man! “He was the cutest thing ever,” Joanne remembered. They eventually married and were blessed with 4 kids and many grandkids. After they moved to Flagstaff in 1978, they remained in the same house for the next 4 decades.

Can you imagine meeting the love of your life in 8th grade? When I asked about the secret to their marriage’s longevity, Sil, the bigger talker, replied “I still see her as that teenage girl. She hasn’t changed.”

Because of their love of cooking and hosting, I suggested portraits of them at their house, possibly eating dinner. I arrived to find that they’d prepared a feast that they intended to feed me. More of a dinner party than a photo session. Dodging raindrops, Sil kept us all laughing throughout. When the food was no longer needed as props, we ate the delectable fare they’d carefully crafted. They were so eager for me to be happy, consummate hosts. Joanne showed me the heartfelt care she put into decorating each room in their home, her loving touch visible in every corner.

Flagstaff Couples Portrait , Married 60 Plus Years

After our magazine shoot together, I told anyone who would listen about my ‘new favorite friends’. Every moment I spent with them filled up my tank. He made me laugh, she called me an angel. I loved them. By the time Joanne looked me in the eye that day and asked me to come to her birthday, I couldn’t have said no. Of course, I went to the party. It was two years ago today. I made a portrait of their family for her as a birthday present.

Later, as Joanne’s health deteriorated, Silvano cared for her with his trademark humor, gentle kindness, and protective care. Two months ago, it broke my heart when I learned that he’d passed unexpectedly. I worried about how Joanne must feel without her dear Sil. Last week, she joined the love of her life on the other side. I’m happy they are reunited but how sad that they are not here with us anymore.

The holiday card we made for them said “Blessings to you! Love, Sil & Joanne” We were all blessed to know these two beautiful humans.

Behind the scenes with Silvano ❤️

Flagstaff Family Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Maternity Pregnancy Photographer • Flagstaff Newborn Photographer • Flagstaff Child Photographer • Flagstaff Senior Portrait Photographer • Flagstaff Couples Photography

Kristen Dacey Iwai of KDI Photography is a full-time professional portrait photographer based in Flagstaff, Arizona with decades of experience. Making portraits of families, pregnancy, newborns, babies, children, and high school seniors in her downtown studio and on location, she serves clients from Flagstaff, Sedona, Tuba City, Winslow, Payson, Page, Williams, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona

Keiji Iwai & Kristen Dacey Iwai



724 N. Humphreys St

Flagstaff, AZ 86001



(928) 779-4151



M - F 9 - 5 by appointment

KDI Photography Portrait Studio in Flagstaff, Az