When dreams are big enough, love strong enough, miracles can happen. And one of those miracles is that stereotypes about people with Down syndrome are being smashed right and left. This blog includes several examples of young dreamers doing the smashing: a fashion designer and a model, the Cincinnati Reds’ bat boy and a restaurateur.
Thanks to environmental artist and activist Franke James, I have just learned of another stereotype smasher, a talented young photographer in the U.K. by the name of Oliver Hellowell. According to the East Sussex Parent Voice, he was only nine when he began tagging along with his photographer step-father, Mike O’Carroll. That ignited Oliver’s passion for nature and landscape photography and gave him a dream to work toward, becoming a professional photographer.
The family tested the waters by holding a photography exhibition for Oliver in November 2012. At first they figured the large turnout was due to people’s innate kindness, but the sales of his cards, canvasses and prints told a different story. Young Oliver has the photographer’s eye.
This year the 17-year-old photographer mounted another pre-Christmas exhibition. He also has his own photo site where his cards and prints can be ordered and shipped anywhere in the world. Take a look at his Christmas cards, and you will see the artistic eye behind the camera. Then scroll around on his Facebook page and be impressed by the quality of his vision.
The photographs of Oliver Hellowell when he is out shooting show a young man willing to do what it takes to capture the photograph that zings. His mother and step-father fully support his artistic journey, encouraging him to explore every inch of his talent. Wendy Hellowell says:
Oliver has without doubt brought a quality, value and meaning to my life which is impossible to articulate or describe to other parents who have not had that experience. I wish I could help other people to see what I see and feel what I feel – because then they would truly know just how vital it is to our world, our culture and our lives, to have children and young people like Oliver in them. To keep us human and to help us witness and understand a deeper and greater joy.
This whole family gives me hope, and I have no doubt Oliver Hellowell is on his way to achieving his dream.