My friends, Micah and Megan had twin boys, Noah and Levy, and when the twins were around two years old, as I followed their journey through photography, I found it to be a story about love, strength, selflessness, and hope.
This personal project started as a typical photoshoot. As I mentioned, these friends of mine have twin boys, and although they are both photographers, they have never had a picture of their whole family in one frame. I was really itching to shoot stories again, and I offered a Day in the Life session.
On the shooting day, I arrived at their house at 5:30am, right before the boys woke up. In the quiet moments with Micah and Megan, I learned that they had just found out that one of their boys, Levy, was diagnosed with autism. That news hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember not knowing what to say and what to do but having such a feeling of empathy.
I could immediately see it in their faces that they were still struggling with their situation, but at that moment, they had come to a place of acceptance, and they were resolved to be strong for both of their boys. They mentioned that if I was there a couple of weeks before, they would have broken down and cried every time they are reminded of this new reality.
I had a few moments to think about how I wanted this day to go before we started. This, which initially started as a lighthearted project, now posed a few different ways to approach it. I had a choice to make: Show them as-is (with all of the challenges that they are facing), show that everything is ok, or find a different point of view.
I ended up choosing the latter: Shooting the realness of the family, their situation, and how they cope with it, and also giving Micah and Megan the one thing that they needed the most: HOPE. Levy’s type of autism causes inability to respond to most normal human interaction, and it can be very painful and frustrating to his parents and his twin, Noah. Knowing this, I searched to find those fleeting moments where he was responding and showing his emotions. His laugh is amazing and contagious, and I wanted to showcase that. His closeness to his mother, Megan, and how dedicated she is to him is exemplary.
There were (and are) so many great things about this family that I wanted the world to see.
In life, we have two choices: step up or step down. Stepping down and giving up is the easy way out, always. You can be dealt with a very difficult hand in life and you can just let yourself be filled with anger, hate, and blame, but this was not the reality with this family. Sure there were some disappointments due to the natural expectations of what life should be, but they had grown to accept, and make the best of it.
I wanted to show the positivity of this family, how this made them stronger as a unit, that while it was not easy and did change things, they chose to rise above it. Their love did not change one bit; it actually grew stronger.
I wanted to display to see the positive aspects of this. I wanted viewers to feel something and be inspired by it—that there is always hope and a way to be a better person despite of all the challenges. Love shines so much brighter in the face of adversity.
No tricks, no gimmicks, just the depth of the story. It challenged me to dig deeper and pour my heart and soul out for a purpose that is different than what I am used to. This project changed my life, literally.
I am so grateful for the trust and openness that Micah and Megan gave me. Micah held nothing back in his answers, and it helped make this project become what it is. Adding his voice-over made this the most difficult slideshow I’ve ever done at that point. Sequencing the story, matching images to the narration, and the process took a hundred hours to complete.
Micah and Megan cried after seeing this documentary, upon releasing this to the internet, they had received over 90 emails, messages from their friends, families, people that they didn't know, all showing their support and encouraging words to them. At this particular moment, I knew that this is what I wanted to do - telling meaningful, positive stories that can inspire or help others, in a way, my own rebirth. It is the start of many different stories.
See the whole documentary on my Youtube page:
or on this site: