I first encountered Abbie when she was just a little little. During her family portraits, she and her siblings were adorably loving and sweet. An early example here, although her brother's not so sure about the snuggling!
Watching the 3 kids in this family grow, that loving sweetness hasn't changed. Something that has changed is that Abbie has blossomed into a brilliant artist, committed runner, passionate skier, and someone who loves great books. She has also, unfortunately, has had way more than her fair share of health challenges. Diagnosed with Dysautonomia, she has spent an enormous amount of time in the hospital and has been in an out of a wheelchair. She has seizures and chronic pain, she passes out, she sometimes loses the ability to speak, walk or use her hands. And yet, she rises with determination over and over again and resumes pursuing all of her many interests and talents. She doesn't seem to let anything stop her for very long. It's a quality that she shares with Olympic athletes I've photographed.
With all of this in mind, we set out to make a senior portrait of Abbie making art and also outdoors in her beloved snowy Flagstaff.
The manner in which Abbie makes her art shows her sheer will. She will set up her materials anywhere - in a cluttered office, on the floor, wherever she can find space. And what she creates is remarkable. Her work reveals the beauty inside her and also sometimes unveils her physical and emotional pain, too.
Abbie's so inspiring that she's one of 4 nominees for a scholarship - an A.C.E. Award (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) from the Exchange Club of Flagstaff. The A.C.E. Award is presented to a senior high school student who has shown perseverance and success in meeting difficult personal and academic challenges in his or her high school experience.
Sounds right up her alley.
You can read more about Abbie's health and her phenomenal art in a recent article in the Arizona Daily Sun here.