The photos are priceless and the story will make you smile.
An experience that helped shape the way I look at the world. By Katelyn Prisco
The other day…
I was called out to a photo shoot.
I work with a local organization in Sarasota that refers me to people or companies who are looking for a photographer.
I rarely even ask what the session is about, I just show up, do my thing, and expect it to go quite routinely.
This job was different.
I was met at the door by an extremely kind and upbeat woman.
“Hey! Come on in, we’re all waiting for you,” she exclaimed.
Oh, ok awesome… these people are really nice, I thought to myself — this is going to be easy money.
I walked into a small studio, full of cameras and video equipment. All eyes were on the nicely dressed man, who was sitting in a chair in the middle of the room. My mind was racing with possibilities as I thought to myself… this is a little different.
The man, Kevin, thanked me again for showing up to help.
Apparently he had booked another photographer who wasn’t able to make it. I had emailed Kevin the night before and told him I’d be here in the morning, but I still wasn’t sure what the shoot was even for.
Kevin explained that there would be a video of him thanking the guests of an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) event he was hosting the following week.
Kevin was only 29 when he was diagnosed with ALS. He wanted to shed light on the importance of knowledge. The knowledge of what this terrible disease has done to him and his body. He explained that he wanted a series of still photos to use in the video.
Before today, I had no clue what ALS even was. I thought maybe it was something they named after a baseball player. Now I know that it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Not cool. But Kevin, he was cool.
He spoke so eloquently and finished his video relatively quickly.
Then, before I even knew what was going on, he removed all of his clothing down to his boxers and socks. In front of me stood a man, who I had met no more than five minutes earlier, almost completely naked. Ready for his close up.
He joked about his unfortunate situation and his silly socks.
He laughed with his mother, and other friends about his beer belly (which I had to get in a photo [or so I was told] because it was a direct result of the ALS).
He even had his mom go to a costume store so that he could dress up for a couple photos. He wanted to remind people that he hadn’t lost his sense of humor.
When I walked into the studio that day, I thought I was going to take a few pictures and maybe put a few extra bucks in my pocket. Instead, I met an inspiration, a new friend, someone with more love than he knows what to do with.
Kevin has dedicated the rest of his life to raising awareness for ALS.
He started A Life Story Foundation and has raised thousands of dollars for the cause.
I don’t what kind of man Kevin was before his disease. I don’t know much about his family or his friends, I actually don’t really know Kevin at all.
What I do know is that in the short time I have been able to spend with him and his entire entourage of awe-inspiring supporters, I am very aware that I have met a present day hero.
With permission from Kevin, I am posting some of the photos from our session.
This is my very first blog post and I couldn’t think of any better way to launch my blog than with Kevin’s story.
Katelyn is a photographer and loves to capture life’s little moments through the end of her camera lens. And, as you can see here, she has a few special words to share with the world. Learn more about Katelyn on her personal website.