Some thoughts, once sown, grow into something quite beautiful and unimaginable. This project was one such thought. It started from my desire to photograph a family caring for a child with disabilities as an act of generosity; but it evolved to so much more.
The aim of this project was to record the circumstances and social interactions over a number of months, of a group of FRANS families living with disabilities, using documentary photography as the medium and resulting in a photobook and exhibition of images from the project.
FRANS, a disabilities organisation in Sydney’s Inner West, extended an invitation to all families who access services to participate in the project. Each of the twelve families who eventually came to the project was asked to allow me into their daily lives, with the understanding that they would continue their normal routine and that I would be as unobtrusive as possible.
The diversity amongst those families was broad, across all ages and care needs, as well as disparate socio-economic circumstances and family support structures. From childhood to middle age and from low support needs, where care is given to enable independent living, to high needs, where assistance is required for even the most basic tasks most ordinary people take for granted.
The images, of which a small selection are shown here, highlight achievements and challenges. They capture people engaging in physical activities, close friendships, studying and employment; birthday celebrations, family relationships and family rituals are recorded. Most images were made in the documentary genre without being posed or the environment manipulated; however, each participant was also photographed for a portrait, which was often posed.