Network of Support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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

The Story

You met these sisters in the first entries of this series. Bailey has gone through multiple heart surgeries and other medical challenges, and Brooklyn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of just 2 years old. I knew I wanted to create those fantasy-style portraits from the start, but I also asked if they minded posing for a more modern image. I had been researching ideas for twin posing, and I came across this straight-on/profile concept and fell in love with it. It fit perfectly with Bailey’s scar and Brooklyn’s Continous Glucose Monitor placement, so we went for it!

Behind the Scenes

I had struggled with finding the right costumes to feature the scar and CGM properly, especially for Bailey. Finally, I decided to simply drape fabric around the girls! These are wraps that I normally use for my newborn shoots, redeployed as “shirts”. Hair and make-up is provided by Hollie Wilson Streater.

Since the girls are not identical, we had to make some adjustments on height for this to work, so Brooklyn is standing on a board. And that’s about it! The very simple nature of this shot is what drew me to it.


Solo Portraits

This take on Rosie the Riveter was requested by Brooklyn’s mother, and I loved the idea. We took our inspiration from this decal made by JustFlyDesign on Etsy. Blue is the official color of the diabetes flag, so Brooklyn’s mom found a tank top and bandana to match.

Hollie Wilson Streater was critical to creating this look! The hair and make-up design was perfect. Just look at that lipstick!

Because of the cooler colors, I ended up shifting the backdrop from a tan color to this cooler gray in Photoshop. I also flipped the image horizontally to match the original Rosie image (we had to shoot from the other direction because that’s where Brooklyn’s glucose monitor was on her arm).

Playing sports is a huge part of Bailey’s life, so she wanted to incorporate them into her personal portrait. She describes herself as a “total tomboy”, and her mother had suggested eye black with a softball bat in her original message about the shoot. They brought plenty of equipment to try out, but I liked the way Bailey’s gaze was so intense over her softball glove, so this was my favorite shot. Can you imagine staring down this pitcher on the mound?

This is Bailey’s real softball jersey, and we unbuttoned it to show off her heart surgery scar. I love how Hollie Wilson Streater’s braids add a touch of girliness to contrast the toughness in the rest of the image – and of course, the eye black is key!

I ended up creating six portraits of Brooklyn and Bailey for this series, and I love all of them. It was an amazing experience from start to finish!