Here is the first entry in my Storytelling Portrait Series this summer! I will be highlighting children and teenagers who live with significant medical conditions, and telling their stories.

The Story

Brooklyn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 2, and she wears a continuous glucose (blood sugar) monitor and an insulin pump attached to her body, 24/7. Diabetes is an exhausting disease that requires constant attention. Modern technology has eased that slightly by shifting from dozens of daily finger pricks and injections, to these more continuous solutions.​ ​

When I learned that Brooklyn describes herself as “girlie girl”, I immediately began imagining a princess-themed shoot. My sister has T1D, so I am familiar with some of the medical tools. “Sleeping Beauty” pricking her finger seemed like a perfect theme for our shoot!

Behind the Scenes

I was able to track down an actual antique spinning wheel on Craigslist. The intention was to sell it again after, but I don’t know now – it’s pretty cool! My sister gave me one of her hypodermic needles, and I attached it to the wheel.

The bucket and wool are from my collection of newborn props. The wool is actually a small blanket, handmade in Australia from a rare breed of Merino sheep, by Little Vintage Fox. I ordered it right before the pandemic, and sadly have not gotten to use it with a newborn yet! I was thrilled to put it to use in this shoot.

The gorgeous circlet and necklace were created by RoseMoonBoutique on Etsy.

The dress was handmade by Sarah Henry Suemnig. I had searched and searched for just the right gown that would feel old-fashioned and luxurious, but also show off Brooklyn’s CGM on her arm. I finally decided the perfect dress did not (yet) exist, and I turned to Sarah. With just the vaguest of descriptions from me and a pic of a similar dress concept, she sketched a gorgeous design and brought it to life in just a few weeks. There was even a pocket for the insulin pump!

Hair and makeup were done by Hollie Wilson Streater, a hero who stepped in last-minute to save the shoot when our scheduled HMU artist had to cancel. Luckily, she does beautiful work. 


Creating more complex portraits like this was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to making more! Stay tuned for more images of Brooklyn and meet her sister, Bailey.