I was recently lucky enough to be asked by a friend to take pictures of her granddaughter, Ashlyn. All kids are special, but Ashlyn is extra special. This tough little girl and her family have not had an easy road. Ashlyn has a lot of medical issues and, to be frank, no one can say how much time Ashlyn will really have. I can’t imagine having to face that reality with a child, but her family seems to handle everything with grace, humor, and love. It is easy to see how much they love each other, and I think that, even though she may not be able to express it, she knows she is surrounded by people who care deeply about her. I really enjoyed my time with Ashlyn, her grandmother Susan, her mom Sarah, and her little brother Jacob – check out some of my favorite shots from the day.
In doing some research, I also found that there is an entire organization, Special Kids Photography of America, that is devoted to helping photographers become more adept at taking photos of kids with special needs. I read a lot of sad stories on various blogs of parents of kids with a disability having a terrible time getting family photos taken – even stories of photographers flat out refusing to work with a child that had special needs. (I find this absolutely appalling.) I love that there is a photography organization out there that strives to help photographers learn to understand capturing wonderful portraits of special kids and their families. Kids are still kids, families are still families, and everyone should be able to have someone to go to for help in telling their story in photographs.
I feel blessed that Ashlyn’s family gave me the opportunity to take her photos. I knew going into this session that these photos were very important to them, and I didn’t want to let them down. Ashlyn is an amazing girl, and I’m honored they trusted me to capture that. I look forward to doing the same for more families in the future!