My love of photography began in 2010 following the birth of my son Archer.
Holding his beautiful newborn photos inspired me to improve my photographic abilities. I purchased a previously owned Canon Rebel and began learning all I could.
When Archer was 18 months old, the results of medical testing turned our whole world upside down. He was given a diagnosis of a peroxisomal biogenesis disorder, a rare genetic metabolic terminal disorder affecting all major bodily systems.
As our family slowly began to find our way with this devastating news, it became more important than ever to document our shared moments. Photography became my creative therapy, and I continue to find immense joy in documenting Archer’s story as it unfolds in his 6th year of life.
Archer’s innate capacity to connect with his world transcends his disabilities. Whether physically manifested or implied, his connection with people, animals, and the world outside our front door, it is the theme at the heart of how my son moves through life.
Archer’s older siblings are gently attuned to his needs, allowing me many opportunities to document their love for him. I observe them quietly while they are helping him, making him laugh, and displaying affectionate snuggles and comfort. In photographs of Archer and our dog, there’s a silent tenderness between them, a being-to-being connection that does not require language. They simply understand the other’s need for love.
The world beyond our front door provides countless opportunities for connection. Whether Archer is studying the ground turned white with snow, or touching the bright packaging on grocers’ shelves, it is all magical to him. His ability to meet his world with fascination inspires me to do the same. This is one of the many gifts he freely shares, teaching me to encounter my environment with profound wonder and awe, moment by moment, no matter how familiar or routine.
Knowing Archer is legally blind, I marvel that he can truly see the world through his desire to experience it fully. Archer may have limitations in expressing himself, but in these moments of connection, he tells me all about his love of life.
Though life raising a child with specials needs is full of joy, it also brings challenges and heartache. I desire to document our lives honestly, and that means including the highs, the lows, and all the moments in between. Sometimes our moments include recovering from illness or surgery, frustrations with toilet training, cabinets emptied of their contents by little hands, but these moments are no less important to our story than the joys.
Although I might initially want to push away experiences that feel unpleasant or uncontrollable, I try to pause and honor them. They, too, are the now of our lives. They speak of the uniqueness of my son and how he lives with his disabilities. Documenting the whole of our lives in this way has helped me find acceptance and peace.