Archive for Uncategorized

2019

       

AHRC Article

Suzanne Fiore: Photographer
The following is written by Suzanne Fiore, a professional photographer who became inspired to document the familial relationships of people with disabilities by her uncle who had Down syndrome. For any families interested in learning more about Suzanne’s work or participating in a photo session, she can be reached at www.suzannefiorephotography.com



When I was a child, my sister and I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house when my parents went to work. My grandmother, grandfather, and Uncle Kenny lived in the red brick house at the bottom of a hill that was perfect for speeding down when I rode my big wheel. When my sister and I would walk into my grandmother’s house, we received the biggest hugs, kisses galore, and a few painful pinches of our cheeks!


My grandmother’s love was boundless. That love was not only shown to us through her hugs, kisses, and pinches on the cheeks, her delicious food, or her willingness to sit and play solitaire with us for hours. It was shown to us through her love for my Uncle Kenny, who had Down syndrome.



My uncle was limited in his ability to do many things on his own, including speaking and feeding himself. He needed constant care and supervision. My grandmother would always tell us of when he was born and how the Doctor suggested she put him in a home to be cared for. My grandmother visited the “home” only to find overcrowded rooms where people with special needs were practically living on top of each other without enough people to care for them. My grandmother would say “When I saw how they were going to supposedly care for my son, I took him home to really care for him myself.” And she did. To the very best of her ability, she and my grandfather cared for their son 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives. My grandmother lived to be 86 years old and my grandfather lived to be 95 with my uncle by their side until their last days.
 
What came with that depth of love was extreme sacrifice. Although they had my incredibly selfless mother by their side – always showing up to care for her brother alongside my grandparents – they often felt stuck in their home for fear that my uncle might react in a way that they wouldn’t know how to handle in public. “What if he vomits when we’re out to dinner?” “What if we can’t find a bathroom?” “What if he punches himself?” Those concerns kept them homebound mostly. There was far less societal awareness and acceptance when my grandparents were raising my uncle. Far fewer opportunities and a lot more fear of judgment.



When my grandparents died, my mother became Uncle Kenny’s primary caregiver. She struggled with what was best for him moving forward. She wanted to honor the story my grandmother had told us of how she refused to leave her son in a home. But she also knew that so much had changed in that regard. We, as her family, encouraged and supported her to consider giving him a new chapter in his life and my mother found the most loving home for Kenny. In fact, because of the loving and courageous choice that my mother made, my Uncle Kenny participated in events that he never had before. He was happy, he had new friends, new experiences, people who truly cared for him and he always had my mother by his side. My mother cared for my uncle from the time he was born until the day he died. She is behind so much of why I am passionate about offering my services and experience to others. The relationship she had with her brother is an exemplary lesson in love.



Now that my grandparents and my uncle are gone from this life, I have noticed a lack of tangible evidence of the incredible love and care that took place in that red brick house. The way my Uncle smiled when my grandmother sat close to him at the kitchen table and whistled. The way she gave him his morning coffee with a spoon. The way my grandfather clapped hands with Kenny. Even the moments of frustration and fatigue: The moments when my Uncle cried and we didn’t know why or how to comfort him. The moments when he would reach out and grab us by the shirt with a grip tight enough to be held there until he chose to release his grip. Moments of laughter and support. The strength my grandmother showed when lifting my Uncle from his chair. The way Kenny smiled when my mother walked into the room. His bond with the caregivers who cared for him when my grandparents died. Very few of these moments exist in the form of a photograph. I’ve searched for them thinking that something must exist. We have some posed family snapshots from birthdays and holidays, but even those don’t tell the story of the legacy that my Grandparents and my Uncle left behind. I asked my mother if my grandmother ever considered having a family portrait taken. She said “No. Mostly because we never knew if someone outside of the family would have the patience and understanding to capture them all or how Kenny would react.”


I often feel that my grandparents kept themselves hidden from the outside world in order to give my uncle the best care they thought possible, considering what was (and what was not) available to them at the time.



Not having photographic proof of the relationships that existed between my uncle and our family saddens me. I so wish there was a photographer who offered the patience and understanding that my family would have been grateful to have so that I could now share their legacy of love through a visual art form.


It’s that wish that has fueled my passion to be that photographer for other families who may still have fear what a photo session would be like for their family. Or maybe it’s simply a matter of not knowing exactly how to capture the important role that their family members play in our world. The story between caregivers and the person being cared for is an important story to tell but perhaps a caregiver’s mind is too full to even think about how important they are or why having their photos taken would be thought of as a gift. I encourage that investment for themselves, for their loved ones, for today’s society, and for generations that will follow. That relationship is a model that we could all truly learn from and admire.



Today, there is so much more available to families who have a relative with special needs but there still seems to be, from my own personal observations, many families who don’t recognize how much the world needs to SEE their contribution to our society. From my point of view – we could use a lot more visuals of us caring for one another to offset the rest of what we see happening around us constantly. I would like to be a participant in that idea. To show what unconditional love looks like. I want my work as a photographer to leave behind a legacy of a unique kind of love that exists within families where a loved one has special needs because I believe it’s an important message. In addition to that, I want to gift those families with the proof of their own personal connection and loving kindness toward their loved ones for many generations to be inspired by.
This work is a tribute to my family and a big THANK YOU to them for showing me what true love looks like.

Guide for a Successful Family Session.

Click below for your Free tips for a successful photo session:

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LaG Family

Friendship, love, trust, support, encouragement, honesty, commitment, strength, perseverance, joy, laughter, respect, acceptance, vulnerability, spirituality, understanding, dreams, music, art, & the performing arts are all alive and well between us. I’ve learned these things, received these things and achieved these things thanks to these friends who have been a part of my life’s foundation & growth for over 20 years! Reunited & reminded again that I can still do and be anything I want while being proud of who I already am! Most importantly – I can STILL always be fully me and nothing more or less when I’m with them…

Wishing you all this kind of joy, love, and friendship in 2018!

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

My First Friends

Every once in a while, I like to give you a glimpse into my life. This glimpse introduces you to people who have been in my life for its entirety.

These are my first friends! They are my friends still. We met at Olivet Presbyterian Church and it’s safe to say that, with the guidance of our incredible Pastor, Lee, and the support of his gracious wife, Louise, I learned what great friendship looks like and how to nurture those relationships. We have been through the best and worst together. We have traveled together, built houses together, learned together, fought together, healed together, celebrated each other’s achievements, and have helped each other navigate through difficult moments in our lives. I have taken that example with me into the friendships that came into my life as I grew and I have certainly been blessed with extraordinary friendships. Friendships that I am very proud of. This group is at the foundation of it all. I love them dearly and I’m eternally grateful that they are still in my life.

These friends and I recently took a trip to visit with our pastor and his wife in Delaware. While we were all sitting around the table together we realized, in between bouts of laughter, that it had been 25 years since we graduated from our confirmation class. Here are a few moments from that reunion…still laughing..25 years later.Olivet Presbyterian Church – Confirmation Class of 1992

 

Pastor Lee & Louise

 

Shani

 

Joy

 

Eddie

 

Shermarke

 

Mark

 

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

First Rolleiflex Family!

I’ve been putting this camera to work! I brought it to this family’s photo session and captured some of their images with the Rolleiflex. I am excited to share some of the film scans with you. I had a BLAST with this family of 3 at South Street Seaport. It’s always a pleasure to work with new clients and to learn about their family. This trio and I had 2 hours of fun! Stay tuned for more from my time with them.

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

Prints & Albums

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read about, and look at, the photo products I’m offering.

I have new and improved packages available for you that include prints and/or photo albums (and mini albums). I love these products and am excited to share them with you.

First – let’s talk about prints. I offer matted prints, for your framing preferences, as well as non matted prints. Below, I listed the most popular options. Additional size options are available upon request.

MATTED PRINTS:

  • 5×7 Fine Art Print (Matted for 8×10 frame)
  • 8×12 Fine Art Print (Matted for 11×14 frame)
  • 11×14 Fine Art Print (Matted for 16×20 frame)

NON MATTED PRINTS:

  • 5×7
  • 8×12
  • 11×14
  • 16×24
  • Prints from Rolleiflex will print in a square format

Here are some visuals of matted prints in the most popular colors: black, gray, and off white. Other color options are blue, green, and brown in various shades.

*Framing not availableNow let’s talk about albums. I encourage my clients to consider an album as a gift, of course, but also as a perfect way to move your photos from your flash drive to a more tangible way to store your photo memories. Prices vary based on # of pages and size of the album. Please contact me for pricing lists.

PHOTO ALBUMS:

Book Sizes:

  • 6×9 or 9×6
  • 8×10 or 10×8
  • 8×12 or 12×8
  • 8×8 or 10×10
  • 11×14 or 14×11

Here’s a visual of what my albums (and mini albums) look like:The mini albums fit in your pocket, they feature up to 12 photos (including the front and back cover) and come as a pack of 3! You can choose the cover material and color for your album. There are various options to choose from: Finally – I want to share, with you, some of the pages from a gift that was given to this family’s matriarch. I was hired to photograph her 90th birthday party and then the family created a photo album, with memories from the day, as an additional gift.

This birthday album is a 6×9 sized album with a contemporary linen cover – in lilac (the birthday girl’s favorite color).

Each layout is 2 pages…                               I have samples of albums and prints available to show you when we meet for our initial consultation.

If you’re a returning client and want to put photos of your family, from our session together, into an album – let me know and we can begin collaborating on that. If you’re ready to put prints on your wall – I will offer you a free consultation to help you with a layout for your home gallery.

In addition to including prints and albums within my new packages – there is an option for the products to be sold separately if you have already had a photo session with me. We can also customize a package for you if the packages I created don’t suit your needs.

(Please contact me for package details & pricing information.)

Let me know if you have any questions.

As always – thank you for the support!

~Suzanne

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

The Broadway Boys

The Broadway Boys are getting ready to get back into the studio to record their next album, “A New Broadway.” I had the great fortune to photograph them on a day when they were recording their new arrangement of Magic to Do. On the same day, they were also creating the video for their Kickstarter campaign. These “Boys” work HARD! I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes look at this group recording their single & creating their video. I’m also sharing some photos taken with me during the photo session portion of the day. Did I mention how hard they work?! See for yourself…

   

They’re fun to look at but you’ll want to hear them too! Today (7/21) is the LAST DAY to get a FREE download of Magic to Do with any pledge! #joinus 

Find The Broadway Boys on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Kickstarter Campaign Videography: Nate Wind

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

Portraits of a Gift

I wanted to offer you a glimpse into my life for a change. My friends and family celebrated my birthday in the most unexpected and glorious ways imaginable that spanned the month of February. They gifted me with travel arrangements to where they are in order for me to spend quality time with them. Not only was this gift exactly what I needed but I couldn’t ever receive a better gift than quality time with the people that I love! They are the most extraordinary gifts in my life – not only on my birthday. Everyday I have so much to be grateful for…..and I am…..extraordinarily grateful.

The Gift of Them.

February 2017

Quotes by: John O’Donohue

Photos taken in: Ocean Park, Washington

Siesta Key, Florida

&

Boston, Massachusetts

©Suzanne Fiore Photography

Ocean Park, Washington “Your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.”  “The sacred duty of being an individual is to gradually learn how to live so as to awaken the eternal within you.”

Siesta Key, FloridaThe hunger to belong is not merely a desire to be attached to something. It is rather sensing that great transformation and discovery become possible when belonging is sheltered and true.   

Boston, Massachusetts We were sent into the world alive with beauty. As soon as we choose beauty, unseen forces conspire to guide and encourage us towards unexpected forms of compassion, healing and creativity.   “Your noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.”

Kurt and Ruka

At the end of last year I took a trip to Boston and photographed the wedding of one of my best friends. Kurt has been in my life for 24 years and I can honestly say that it has been, and continues to be, one of my most meaningful friendships. Kurt found his perfect match in Ruka. Their love for each other is exemplary and I was delighted to witness how their relationship inspires everyone who knows them, myself included.

I’m always thanking Kurt for staying in my life for so long. I don’t know how I will thank him for adding Ruka to it! It all seems too good to be true!