Local Events: The Jungle Book Kids by Down in the Southland Nonprofit Organization


Well this took longer than expected to make, but shows how much I wanted to share this journey from back in May. It was a different learning experience from my usual norm of photographing nature and landscapes where patience is needed. It can range from taking photos of sunsets to waiting for a bumble bee to land just right on a flower. This is in contrast to where you usually have to be on your feet to capture great moments that happen in mere seconds if you are not paying attention. This was a lesson that was slightly different from the weddings I have assisted Ron with in the past where it was a mix between being quick on your feet for that one shot and typical portraits in some aspects.


Was certainly surprised to receive a call from my friend Chris for this photography opportunity. He needed an assistant to help photograph a production of The Jungle Book being done by a local nonprofit group called Down in the Southland with their Theater Program. Their goals and purpose is to create inclusion and acceptance for people with Down Syndrome in the Chicago suburbs while also providing them with lifelong education, social and life skills. Considering my own disability, I wanted to assist with and help spread awareness through my lens along with Chris. It was also great to see a collaboration between people with and without Down Syndrome.


I believe these series of photos shown below show just that. They were just people ranging from kids to teens, disabled and regular folk coming together to be uplifting and having fun entertaining an audience with such a vibrant and colorful production. Also a way to show that people with Downs Syndrome simply want to be understood and accepted just as anyone else wants to be accepted. I can relate in a way due to my Asperger's Syndrome.

Was also plenty of times for self portraits as well as Chris and I occasionally took photos of each other in action. Seems like a habit I do when teaming up with someone. Gives both of us plenty of behind-the-scenes photos for ourselves. Not to mention an occasional trial run before the main event begins such as testing out a new wide angle lens and to make sure we compensate for the lighting. We couldn't use flash so had to adjust the settings in our cameras to compensate for it. There are positives and negatives for capturing footage this way, but that is something I can discuss on a blog post another time. On with the show!


It was great to see the members of the nonprofit have fun being themselves on the stage. The photos we took speak for themselves more than any words I could type. Images can bring that much power in my opinion. In the end, I was happy I could help not only a friend, but also everyone in the theater program to capture and preserve this special moment for them to remember for years to come and share with others. It gave me new inspiration to go out and try to push my own boundaries. To try other types of photography such as events, which I will get into with my next blog post soon enough.


And on that note, it's time for me to make another trip. Traveling is part of my own big dream. To see places beyond my small vision of the world. Open up my own perspectives previously unknown. Until next time!


If you would like to learn more about Down in the Southland and wish to donate, please visit their WEBSITE or their FACEBOOK page to know more on how you can help.


If you are looking for a pair of photographers to help capture these events you can CONTACT MYSELF and CHRIS VOLEK. We would be happy to assist you!