This beautiful soul has Autism. I did not see it coming. Autism was not in the plans. It floored me for a period of time as I wondered if we had somehow been sentenced to a painful life raising a child with so many unknowns. Although like most parents with a child with autism, there are still worries and wonders that can keep one up at night, the honest truth is he has opened my eyes, my heart…every ounce of me to an incredible world filled with some of the most extraordinary people that I have ever had the great fortune to meet.
I have found on this unplanned path that we find ourselves on, that we are surrounded by a community of such immense love and support. Sometimes it is just a hug, and others a conversation of reassurance that one day your child will not just eat chicken nuggets from McDonald’s for every meal or that he may speak one day in full sentences as he amazes you with his vast knowledge of the Star Wars Universe or that he’ll soon give cross-fit a try to be with his friends.
As a member of this extraordinary community I find our family in, I too must show my support. As a portrait photographer, my ability to tell uplifting stories through character capturing imagery is my greatest strength. What I have learned is a beautiful portrait can really help an individual see how incredibly beautiful they are and for some, be very life changing. There are so many children or adults for that matter within our community that have never had a portrait that truly captures their spirit, the very sparkle that makes them uniquely them. With this in mind, I have created The Painted Chair Project to help change that. It is an evolving project supporting the autism community designed to tell uplifting stories and capture some beautiful portraits along the way.
Giving back is a crucial part of who I am. There are very big plans for The Painted Chair Project. I have a road map however I am certain there will be some unplanned detours along the way…we will most certainly need the continued love, support and encouragemet of our community every step of the way. With your help, I believe we can truly pull this off!
xo - Shira