As photographers we love to photograph beautiful people. We get excited when hired to shoot models with perfect dimensions, gorgeous lines and stunning eyes. While those shoots get the heart racing the ones that really fill my heart are the ones when I see photographers reach out and photograph those that wouldn't otherwise find themselves in front of a professional's camera. One such shoot was from Nathaniel Taylor who each year donates his time and resources to photograph and give prints to disabled adults.
When I first looked over the photos on Taylor's blog called "The Unphotographed Series" my heart was touched. My step sister also has grown up with a disability and like the adults in his series works at a facility that has opened their doors to train and give work to disabled adults. Taylor partnered with a company out of California called FVO Solutions which is a non-profit organization with a majority of it's employees (around 250) being learning disabled. The company makes a large variety of products ranging from soccer balls to hole punches. In addition to providing jobs on site, FVO Solutions also has a job placement program to assist their employees find other types of work. In short, the company is doing amazing things to empower the disabled adults working there.
About three years ago Taylor got involved with FVO while doing a commercial shoot of them for Pasadena Magazine. He said "the experience was such a powerful one that I contacted them a few weeks later and asked how I could get involved." Since the holidays were just around the corner they decided do offer free holiday portraits for anyone that wanted one. After that experience Taylor got even further involved by joining their fund raising board and helping them organize events throughout the year. In addition he has donated a few different photo shoots and video work to FVO Solutions.
"It's hard to put into words how incredible of an experience it actually has been to get to photograph and build friendships with these people over the years." said Taylor. An accomplished commercial photographer Taylor mentioned that so much of his life has been photographing people that are used to getting their picture done (models, musicians, actors) and that it's sometimes easy to forget about those less fortunate that don't get the opportunity to be in front of the camera as much. I appreciate Taylor's example, service to the learning disabled and for reminding me the importance of photographing beautiful people on shoots that can really fill the heart.
Have you done a shoot like this in the past or offered up services to those less fortunate? If so, post your link and story in the comments. I would love to read about it.
You can see more of Nathaniel Taylor's work on his website, blog and facebook page. Also be sure to check out this video Nathaniel Taylor made of his shoot and watch how great the experience is for everyone involved especially when they see the prints of themselves.