As I continue to process the portraits I made at Childrens Hospital last week, I find myself gazing into the eyes of the brave hearted children and their beautiful mothers. These mothers are exceptional because they have risen to the challenge to inspire calm in their children as they hold fast to enduring hope for better days ahead.
They hold firmly onto their dreams for a bright future for their children, even as they balance private worries they dare not speak. In their eyes, you can read the strength they embody.
The mother, the father, the grandmother, the visiting uncle, the little sister — the intensity of their love is a big part of the cure.
Sometimes when you are four, you don’t want your picture taken. Maybe you are just shy around strangers. Maybe you are tired or not feeling great. What’s the big fuss?
Little Emily is shy, and she might not feel 100%. The last night her Mom brought her to a photographer, she didn’t want any part of it. She refused to smile.
When Emily and I met, I could tell she was shy, so first we let her watch another child have a portrait session. Then, we just talked. Emily had fun and got a few photos taken with no pressure. You know what? Her favorite color is purple, and her favorite movie is Frozen. She can also sing her ABCs, very quietly.
I might have the best job in the world. Every year I spend a day shooting portraits at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for a special non-profit program that supports pediatric cancer called Flashes of Hope. Yesterday I photographed nine children and their families, for a total of 340 images. These families share their positive spirit with me, and I come home inspired by their strength and courage.
Today I began the lengthy task of processing the photos, which includes converting the images to black and white, the signature style of Flashes of Hope. So, I spent the day looking into the eyes of seven-year-old Joey. He was an animated talker, especially when he described his best friends and his “girlfriend” Kayla.
Chicago’s public sculpture “Cloud Gate” — nicknamed “the bean” — is always swarmed with visitors admiring its distorted reflections. The Chicago skyline and one’s own reflection inevitably compete for your attention.
This turtle seems to love his private spot to bask in the late afternoon sun. This textured clump of tree roots is just the right size to elevate the turtle out of the South Florida swamp. Lots of turtles inhabit this area, sharing it with alligators, large and small.
This roseate spoonbill was fluffing her feathers before tucking in her bill and going to sleep. Luckily she let me creep kind of close so I could take her photo with my new camera, the Sony a7rII with a 24-70 f/4 lens. Even though this lens is a short one for wildlife photography, the images from the Sony are so large, that you can crop and still end up with an amazing image. Today was my first afternoon to practice with the camera, here in Naples, Florida.