I step inside the front door and immediately feel welcome. Jessica's home has a warm energy about it. Two little boys are running about, Jessica's near the front window soaking up the sun, her brother, his partner, are there, as are Fiona and Stephen, Jessica's tireless parents. I have arrived to take photos of everyday life and that doesn't mean sitting and talking for too long. So we are soon walking out the front door and I notice that nobodies' clothes are adorned with slogans or artwork, and am relieved. That's a whole lot of time I don't have to spend in Photoshop, cloning them out. I was there to add photos to my stock library of people with a disability.
My need for photos of people with a disability living their lives as citizens was what brought me to photography in the first place. As a frequent workshop and conference presenter in my day job I had a need for photos to add to my slides. But the available stock photos of people with a disability were so often stereotyped and patronising. 'I'll do my own,' I thought, and before I knew it I was hooked.
In this side of my photography, I have the following vision, as stated on my stock photo website...
"To create compelling, high quality images of people who are members of groups that have demonstrated resilience and survival in the face of marginalisation and discrimination.
My goal is to portray the models in ways that advance their dignity and opportunity. You or your organisation can use these photographs politically, commercially and educationally to promote equality and to enhance the social standing of the people and groups that they portray."
We make it to the park after the boys each took their turn hitching a ride on Jessica's wheelchair. Jessica spends her time clapping with her mum, looking complainingly about the wind which blew up just as we arrived, and spending time with her older brother, Jase. They swing between gentle affection, ribbing from Jason, and assertive shoves from Jessica when he spent just a little too long around her face for her liking. The boys, of course, are up a tree, then jump down and then climb again, using Jessica's chair as a ladder. Jessica doesn't seem too fussed about this, but her look tells me she'd prefer they didn't. Then again, it just might have been that bloody wind again.
I know if you've dropped by this child, baby and family photography website, you're probably not looking for stock photos, but if you are they're here: stock photos of people with a disability