When I was given the task of covering the 2016 YAI Central Park Challenge, I knew I wanted to capture images that told more than just the story of the day. I wanted to capture a photo that was symbolic of the relationship between the individuals that have Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities and those that support them. My wife is a behaviorist at YAI, and we often talk about her role with the organization. As she often puts it, her job is to be a facilitator much more than it is to be a caregiver. The distinction being, she is there to help support the individuals achieve the goals that they want rather than solely being a provider.
As this scene unfolded before me, I knew that this image would be symbolic of the facilitator/ achiever relationship. I positioned myself so that the individual with the disability would be directly in front of me and centered in the frame. I wanted to be slightly below his eye level, because doing so gives the subject in the image a more powerful position in relation to the camera. The last element that I wanted to include was of the facilitator and the individual holding hands, helping them move forward in their goal to complete the 5k. I wanted the facilitator to be a prominent part of the photo, but not the main focus. The use of color and levels of brightness in post processing helped to amplify this.
I think that being prominent while allowing the individuals with disabilities to shine, perfectly describes the role of YAI and similar organizations.