A few years ago while working with an autism organization, I was asked to shoot some images for their annual campaign. I began working with some of the families affected by autism, taking photos of the individual children as well as the families.
After weeks of shooting with the families, I walked away with more than just images for their national campaign. My soul was shaken by the passion of the kids and the parents that loved them. I was part of something that transcended photographs – I was experiencing life with them, through their eyes.
Taking images of a child with autism or other special need is a journey. You learn about them - what makes them unique, what they love and even what they don’t love, and how they express themselves. Whether they are verbal or not, you can see all of that emotion when the light in their eye shines...if only for a moment...and it is beautiful. I was lucky enough to photograph these moments and get a glimpse into their world. I was forever changed.
You never know where your path will take you. A few years ago I was introduced to Kim Smith, her daughter Reagan and her dancers in the A Chance To Dance program. It's a dance program that serves any differently-abled child, regardless of the fragility of their condition or whether they are low or high functioning. Every moment I get to spend with these children, the more I see the magic and amazing potential that lies within each one of them.
I'm also constantly inspired by the incredible dedication and love that these parents have for their children. One mom told me that she never had family pictures taken because it was just too difficult. She expressed the challenges of getting everyone to a photography studio, explaining the nuances of her child to the photographer, the struggle to coax one smile out of her son, and to get everyone in the frame for just one photo while patience waned. All while trying to stay within the photographer’s designated appointment slot. "I only have so much energy," she told me. This broke my heart. Every family deserves beautiful images to hang on a wall and to pass down.
Inspired by the children and families I have worked with, I have launched a new studio called Little Engine Photography. It only serves children and family who are differently-abled or have special needs. These children and their families deserve a photographer that strives to understand them. It's my privilege to provide these families with images that they can cherish forever. Providing this makes my heart happy.
If you know a family that you think would be a good fit for Little Engine Photography or you personally need photographs of your child or family, please pass on my info or send them this site, LittleEnginePhotography.com