Several months ago, I went to speak to Boston’s Citizens School about my photography career. It was for a program run by my friend, Abby, called Career Roulette, sponsored by Eastern Bank. My talk wasn’t as awesome as a Boston Police Officer’s or as entertaining as the aspiring actress’, but I caught the attention of one young man named, Brian, who I later learned has a dream of becoming a photographer. During the post-presentation surveys, he wrote that my talk resonated with him the most. My heart melted. Awards, recognition, cash prizes, new gear, none of it mattered at that moment. For the rest of the week, I was on cloud 9 and nothing could bring me down – not even my insanely tough spin instructor.
Brian strikes a sensitive chord in my heart because he is on the Autism Spectrum, just like my little brother, Alex. Brian’s an incredible guy. He currently has four film cameras (classics! like the 35m Canon AE1). With the help of his mother, they set up a lulu.com website to sell his calendars (which feature twelve of his favorite images) in hopes to raise enough money to purchase a digital camera for Brian. He’s go his eye on the Canon rebels series! I’m the proud owner of six of his calendars! If you’d like to support Brian and his project, you can purchase his calendars here.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending the day with Brian at the Franklin Park Zoo, where he expertly switched back and forth from his digital to his film camera. We had a lovely day! Brian sees things differently than I do. His eyes are effortlessly attracted to different compositions – much different than mine, that’s for sure. It’s fascinating. He does so many things that remind me of my brother. Everything… from his eye shifts, from the way that he hooks his arm into his mother’s, the way that he looks like he’s always pondering and how he’s always hungry (being a growing boy, and all!) 🙂 His mother, Barbara, is a hero. She epitomizes patience, grace and boundless love. She reminds me so much of my other mother. She says that sometimes, she thinks that Brian enjoys the act of taking images even more than the images themselves. This was a powerful reminder for me – that connecting with my subjects and genuinely being interested in their world can be just as amazing as the images I create.
Thank you, Brian and Barbara. This experience has given me a much needed reminder about core values – family, love, patience connection, and unconditional support.