I’m starting this blog with one of my final images from this photo session with this lovely high school senior because when your client, from Minnesota, asks if she can do something with an obvious NYC background…NYC SHOWS UP..and I was very proud of my city! So to the cab drivers who all pulled up to the stop light together, to the tour bus driver who joined them, and to the awesome dude eating his folded slice on the go – I thank you!
Before that final image happened, I had the pleasure of working with this wonderful high school senior, Kayla, on a beautiful Fall day. I had such a great time capturing her and having the opportunity to see so many layers of her beauty and determination. This young lady, Kayla, is a sibling to another young lady, Lindsey, who has Rett Syndrome. This holiday season my business is donating 10% of all gift certificate purchases to rett syndrome research trust, an organization with a mission to drive the development of treatments and cures for Rett Syndrome and related MECP2 disorders. If you’ve been wanting to invest in the gift of photography for yourself or someone else – now is a wonderful and meaningful time to make that investment. You give as you get with a gift certificate purchase via my online store. Thank you, as always, for your support.
Billy & Meredith
Newsworthy: Everyday acts of kindness. (4)
A new blog series highlighting the art of caregiving.
Photo narrative by: Meredith Wright
©Suzanne Fiore Photography
My brother, Billy, has a beautiful smile. He also happens to have Down syndrome, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and mild autism spectrum symptoms. It’s refreshing to have an outlet where I can share all the best things about Billy, as so often on forms and in meetings, caregivers are forced to focus on all the things that their loved one can’t do.Billy loves listening to music in the car with the windows down. He also loves to swim with our Dad, and he’ll give you his cheek if you ask for a kiss. When Billy hugs you, it often feels like he’s going to knock you over from how tightly he pulls you close.Billy loves eating at our Grandma’s house. He likes eating anywhere, really.
Since my Mom’s passing in 2015, my Dad and I have been Billy’s co-guardians. Stepping into this role has changed my relationship with Billy significantly. I have always loved him and have been inspired to work in science/healthcare because of his influence on my life. But now that love is fiercer, as an adult sibling relationship involves not only love but also advocacy and caregiving.A few months after my Mom passed away, my Dad and I made the difficult decision to move Billy into a group home. We were fortunate to find a group home near our hometown run by the Arc of Essex County, which also ran his preschool and current day program. I often wish I could clone myself, and have one Meredith go to graduate school while the other Meredith cares for Billy. But since this isn’t possible, I’ve learned to work with the group home managers and staff to make sure Billy’s needs are met. Between Billy’s day program, group home, family, and friends, we work as a team to try to create the best possible “Plan B” in my Mom’s absence.
Billy has always liked sticking to a routine, and so the new routine we have is that roughly every two weeks my fiancé and I travel from NYC to NJ and pick up Billy from his group home. We drive to our Grandma’s house, playing music for Billy on the way.When we get there, Grandma always has something delicious waiting for us to eat.
We then have time to hang out, or take care of random little things like cutting Billy’s nails, trying on new clothes for him, or running some errands together. Then we usually meet our Dad later on for dinner, before heading back to Billy’s group home in time for his evening dose of seizure medications. When we’re together, I try to give Billy as many hugs and kisses as possible, so that he’ll know how loved he is even when I’m not there in person. Since Billy’s verbal skills are not at a level where he can have a conversation, it’s hard to know how much he understands. But when we’re together, he always leans in for huge hugs and kisses. He communicates his love for us this way, and I truly believe he understands how much we love him too.
If you are a sibling of an individual with special needs, please find information, resources, and support here.
If you are a sibling of someone with special needs in NYC, visit sibsNY for resources and support.
Rolleiflex film scans from this family session are being posted on instagram.
I am forever in gratitude to this couple for hiring me to capture their beautifully, intimate wedding at home. After my first consultation with them I told myself, “If they book me, I will purchase the rolleiflex camera I had been wanting for so long.” The moment they confirmed that I would be their photographer – I bought the camera! I didn’t tell them this until I arrived at their wedding with the rolleiflex in hand and asked if I could capture some portraits of them with it since they were the reason I was able to buy it sooner than I had originally planned. They obliged and were so patient with me, knowing I was still in practice mode with it. In the end – I was thrilled to be able to deliver an extra gift of “vintage” quality photography to them on their wedding day.
The film captures appear together at the end of this blog post.
ROLLEIFLEX FILM IMAGES…
This week, in preparation for today’s memorial service at the World Trade Center, I had the opportunity to join with the employees of Marsh & McLennan, a company that lost the second largest group of people on 9/11, as they volunteered to help prepare gifts for the families of those lost and to clean up the site where their colleagues are being remembered today. It was my honor to capture these moments.
If I could add sound to these photos – I guarantee you – these voices would astound you! Since I can’t – enjoy seeing how passionate and energizing these performers are and be sure to follow my dear friend, Jesse , so that you can bask in his extraordinary talents… and then check out his wonderfully gifted friend, Patrice as well! Together, they are working on a new project and I was honored to be there photographing them during this promotional video shoot.
©Suzanne Fiore Photography
Aside from having the experience of using my Rolleiflex with this family (see those images here )- we covered a lot of ground at South Street Seaport. We made it to the playground & the candy store. Some pigeons got chased, and we found a Jenga game as well as a wheelbarrow. What more could we ask for?! We had a lot of fun in spite of scraped knees. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with this wonderful family.
©Suzanne Fiore Photography