Several years ago, I photographed a person with special needs for the very first time. The feeling of extreme emotion was so intense I can’t even put it into words. Why was I near 50 years old and had never even crossed paths with these families or their needs for capturing moments? Perhaps their lives are too full to commit time to such an event, maybe they are embarrassed of the unexpected that will inevitably happen or maybe they think that people like me with seemingly picture perfect family wouldn’t be able to capture the dynamics of their everyday lives.

I look at people with special needs with envy - their uninhibited joy despite their circumstances is something I only could aspire to attain. Their spirits soar even when their frail bodies are confined to a wheelchair and obstacles are everywhere around them. Life is in the moment - THAT moment - their expressions are pure and uncluttered by the millions of other thoughts that would be going through my mind.

So selfishly, I jump on the bandwagon of any volunteer special needs event I can participate in photographing. The joy that comes from being around them is enough to charge me until the next time. My spirit soars with theirs whenever I look back at these images. What an awesome gift people with special needs are to the world.