LIKE a lot of people I know (usually dads and grooms, for some reason) Max really does not like having his picture taken. But for Max, who has autism, it's not about how he might look in the photo. It's because he will have to muster all his courage to meet someone he doesn't know and allow them to take his picture. It will disrupt his routine and overload his senses. And so because of this overwhelming fear, his mum Jess doesn't have any photos of her family all together. Until now.
I never rock up to someone's house and just start shooting. I want to see the kids' toys, get down on their level, play with them, find out what makes them tick, have some fun with them. I can't capture their personalities until I've taken the time to get to know them. And so I was able to discover that Max is a photographer in the making. When I handed him my camera and he took his first picture, his intrepid smile suddenly stretched across his face. His beautiful deep blue eyes lit up when he saw his mum and dad appear on the back of the screen when he pressed the shutter and suddenly he discovered a whole new way of seeing things (including really bad photographer dance moves for action shots). He carefully showed his little sister Billy how to scroll through the pictures on the back of the screen and they discovered how cool blades of grass look through the lens really close up.
And then it all made sense whey his mum wanted photos. It was so much fun taking them.
Being in their own home, being free to be themselves, allowing Billy and Max to just do the things they love doing...these are the moments I love capturing. Because it's the little pockets of happiness that bring the most meaning to our lives, and to capture some of these is what will mean so much to their parents 10, 20, 30 years down the track.