Is there a possibility your child is managing an un- diagnosed condition or disability?

Please watch the video of my story below:

Elle has Parkinson's. She came to me to photograph her knowing that I was a qualified Health Scientist. She felt relaxed knowing that she didn't have to explain her symptoms to me. It's kind of like saying; "Yes I have Parkinson's.... this is what it is.... that is what happened...." 101 times. There's only so many times you can do that without beginning to feel like you have to prepare a statement in advance for the next time you meet someone. 

Elle had 2 glamour sessions with me as she wanted to view the progress of her physiology changes following her Deep Brain Stimulation. Prior to her DBS she was at an anorexic weight. She further explained that in contrast to myth's about Parkinson's, Dyskinesia is in fact a symptom of the medication for Parkinson's. Not the Parkinson's itself. She further described that Dyskinesia is like a constant workout on the body resulting in an anorexic weight.

 

The fantastic news is that the Dyskinesia symptoms did in fact become reduced which meant that she could restore a normal and healthy weight. As you can imagine, Elle's family were petrified for her survival. The battery that is visible in Elle's chest was implanted upon the procedure of the DBS which in fact involves brain surgery. Elle was so strong she came to me only one week after her DBS.

 

Looking back, I am not entirely sure that was the best idea however when Elle becomes determined about something, there is no stopping her. One of the many reasons I had deep respect for her. What she did have was reassurance that as I understood the nature of her condition, she knew that if she wanted to have a rest that I would work entirely around how she was feeling throughout the shoot.

 

For the most part she was extremely energised. In fact seeing Elle look at herself following her makeover was almost emotional enough to have me in tears. This is where I LOVE my work!!! I can tell you from experience that when you have any type of condition taking away from having a "perfect body" it means you feel that much less beautiful and there can be resentment that you are "not perfect". 
 

Elle's story is an example of where a condition is obvious and can therefore be attended to more quickly. Sometimes, there are countless of stories where children are not keeping up with their peers because they are too embarrassed to reveal an existing condition. Usually it's because they are afraid they will get into trouble but most of all they do not want to disappoint their loving and devoted parents and teachers. 
 

Managing portrait sittings should you have a family member with a condition or disability:

*** Please ensure you advise the photographer so they maybe prepred. Depending on the knowledge required, the photographer may feel they should do some research about the condition so they can work towards the complete comfort of the individual. 

   *** Please advise the photographer of anything they may need to work around. As an example, it just so happens that Elle's husband had an eye condition which prevented him from looking directly at me. It therefore meant I was having extreme difficulty of taking a portrait of them with both Elle and her husband looking at me.

I am here to obtain a certain result for your portraits. If I have discovered something preventing me from doing so, I will ask about it to determine if I am not performing my best or if you have a condition I need to be aware of. 

Elle's husband had been too embarrassed to discuss his eyes, but once I asked him he explained. In order to obtain a portrait of them both looking directly at me, or him looking directly at me I directed him to look where I wanted to and I walked around him until I found where our eyes met.

If I was too shy to ask him a direct and personal question, I wouldn't have been able to achieve the desired result. Thankfully by then it was my second sitting with Elle and she trusted me and I knew she wouldn't take offence to my asking the question. 

*** Let the photographer know if you would like to "hide" the "visible disability". Remember, I say this an expression and as someone who also has physical apparent and visible disability. I do not use this term to offend. For example, in the video I explained I had the honour of being photographed by one of my idols. It's always nerve wrecking to disclose a "disability" to an idol and she had me relaxed about it knowing she was hiding my thumb the entire shoot. 

Even as a baby, I instinctively felt the need to hide my thumb as I obviously learnt by then I was different. The following is a portrait that I LOVE with my Grandmother. However, I also look at upon it with sadness that even as a baby I felt the need to hide part of who I was. 

I am here to ensure noone feels they have to.

Essentially, your portrait sitting is going to be more successful the more you work with me by disclosing any information that may affect the desired results you wish to have from me. The more I know, the more I have to work with. 

Please, if you find yourself in this position, even if you do not wish for a portrait sitting as yet I am happy to connect with you. 

Thank you for reading my story.