We're told a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes an image leaves you speechless.
Not because it's the perfect shot, but because everything about it speaks to you.
Two weeks ago, I walked into a building and it happened to me.
Sometime before an event I spoke at recently at our local high school, my sister and I went in to take some portraits of the kids in their special needs unit. Kids with disabilities like autism, global delays, down syndrome and brain injury. We're not superstar photographers but we wanted to capture and celebrate each of the kids in a different light. It was our little gesture to help with the fundraising they had going on and if all went well with our shoot, family and friends would be able to buy images of their kids on the night.
We spent a beautiful morning, laughing, joking and getting to know each of the students and after some editing passed the images on to be printed.
As I arrived at the event and hopped out of my car, I pulled my oversized scarf around my neck to protect it from the frosty air. Gravel crunching underfoot I made my way quickly into the building. And it hit me, first the warmth from the people milling in the foyer and then whispers of what they were saying.
'I've never seen him so still before'
'Look how handsome he is',
'Oh her eyes, look like they're shining'
'That's my boy'
Mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends, looking at their kids in a new way.
Gone was the rushing to get out the door for school, the frustration with the goals that weren't being met, the pain of the unknown. For tonight, their children were the hero's, the stars of the show.
As I get permission from each of their parents I'll be showing more but here's a little teaser.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.