I wasn’t there for very long, maybe 15-20 minutes and they only had one patient in the office – five-year-old Daniel Pesina.
Therapy Center of Buda treats anyone who has any kind of developmental issue. They have a huge range of patients. Pesina had trouble verbalizing, especially with people he doesn’t know. So of course, going in to this assignment, I knew not only would I be capturing photos of a child, but he would also be very very shy.
Whether she knew it or not, pediatric speech-language pathologist Amy Range (pictured above) did a great job helping me to photograph. She suggested we start in the therapy room, where Pesina could swing and play a bean bag game. I got down on my knees in a corner of the room and smiled at Pesina as I held up my camera. He smiled back and I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble taking his photo.
We stayed in the therapy room for a few minutes and then went to the office of occupational therapist, Marsha Walton. Pesina was assigned to draw a dragon on a piece of paper posted to the wall. This is a tricky situation for photographers too. It’s hard to see someone’s face when they’re facing the wall. I was able to capture a quick moment where Pesina made dragon noises with a face to match.
After a few minutes, I had my shot and I relaxed a little, turning to ask a question to the therapist. When I did, Pesina stopped what he was doing and looked at my camera. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and raised my camera back up to my face. He smiled big and went back to drawing. The therapist made the observation that Pesina liked it when I took his picture, which is rare.
I don’t know what I did that made Pesina feel comfortable in front of the camera. Maybe he was just having a good day, or maybe I just got lucky. But it was apparent he enjoyed himself when about 15 minutes in to the shoot his mother came to pick him up and I captured this moment between them.