25 November, 2013

Thanksgiving for a Room to Dream

Several years ago I'd offered to photograph the finished rooms for an organization called Room to Dream. I was inspired by my friend Joanne DiFrancesco's passion for the organization and was completely out of my element on that very first shoot.

The reveals typically take place on a Sunday and as I pulled up to the house, I saw almost a dozen cars parked in front with volunteers going in and out of the house, always carrying something under their arm. I was shown the room and told the family would be home in about 45 minutes and could I get as many shots as possible before they get home…

In my world it takes 45 minutes just to set up the first shot, never mind take as many as possible? Inspired by the tireless enthusiasm of all the volunteers around me we took about 12 great photos and then I started to pack up. One of the members of Room to Dream asked if I could stay and take a few shots of the family as the room was revealed. I hesitated and then said yes of course. I got out my flash and positioned myself in the room waiting for the signal that the door would open and for me to capture that moment, that split second when a child would see their Room to Dream in for the very first time. I could hear someone say that the family had returned home, then through the commotion I thought I heard someone say, "he's going to walk in unaided…"

Then the signal and I don't really remember what happened after that, I just kept pressing the shutter button. I cried the whole way home and when Isabella saw me she asked what was wrong. I said, remember how you are always asking me if you can go to work with me? Well, the next time I have a shoot on a Sunday, you are coming with me, ok? She smiled and gave me a big hug. 

This past year, I was blessed to have hid in a room six times (with Isabella, most times), waiting for the signal to capture the moment when a very special child realizes their Room to Dream is a reality.

Isabella helping me photograph, Ethan's Room

I want to THANK Stefan Nathanson, Jodi Petrillo, Gail O'Rourke, D. Michael Collins, Joanne DiFrancesco and the countless numbers of Volunteers, Designers and everyone who have allowed me to hide in a room and capture a moment that will live with me forever.

Brendan seeing his Room to Dream

Ethan seeing his Room to Dream

Maeve seeing her Room to Dream

Stephen seeing his Room to Dream

Sabreena seeing her Room to Dream

Sean seeing his Room to Dream

Happy Thanksgiving!


1 comment:

Gary Rousseau said...

Michael what an awesome story thank you so much for sharing. Having just finished helping out in creating Sean's room I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so many kind and caring individuals. What a humbling experience.
Here's to creating more rooms to dream. Happy Thanksgiving!

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