Photo Essay

Meet Lucky

Gaining Strength

We all know photography has the power to tell a story. The story in this case is an illustration of emotion, documenting a moment in time that brings a viewer along as part of the experience. As photographers or viewers of photographs this seems simple, when in reality emotional experiences are rare. It is not until I had this experience I truly understood what an emotional experience being a photographer can be.

The story of these photographs seems basic. A story many professional and amateur photographers experience. I extended an offer to my friend Danielson to take pictures of his new born son. I planned nothing special; just spending my lunch hour capturing a few pictures. As it turned out, it would be much more than that.

It was my first visit to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). When I started photographing I provided minimal directions on posing. Instead, I captured the moments, taking pictures as Danielson completed his normal routine of caring for his son.

Upon reflecting back, I knew Danielson had several emotional months leading up to this day.

Danielson and his wife Blessing were expecting their 6th child. In the 28th week of the pregnancy, Blessing's water broke. Blessing was hospitalized and confined to hospital bed rest for 15 days until signs of infection appeared and contractions began. In the 30th week Danielson's and Blessing's son was born. Born at only 4 pounds, considered good for a 30 week old, the new born would require special care in the early months. Despite the complications at birth, the parents knew they had great fortune with all that occurred. With tradition and the situation guiding the choice, they name him Lucky Duune. Duune is Ogoni, a language of Nigeria, that means miracle.

Amazingly, Lucky has shown the ability to "care for himself". From birth he required tubing connections for oxygen and feeding. Lucky removed both his oxygen and feedings tubes before the doctors orders. In both cases the doctors agreed with what Lucky prescribed for himself.

Though the first few weeks of Lucky's life was a continuous course of hurdles, Lucky had relatively no lasting health concerns with the exception of a club foot. The club foot occurred as a result of the position Lucky's mom was in during the two plus weeks of bed rest. Lucky's club foot required four weekly doctor visits of breaking and resetting his foot. Each visit required a new cast for the foot. With the casting now complete there will be three months of wearing a leg brace (pictured here) for 23 hours per day for the first three months then every night for four to five years to ensure the foot properly develops.

With each moment that is captured we feel the power of silence that speaks to those who see it. By exposing the light and dark to paper, a visual medium has the power to generate shared memories of a private experience. Each experience has a unique story of hope, strength, vulnerability and caring. I thank my friend for allowing me to capture the moments and share them with you.

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—The JPG team

11 responses

  • A F

    A F said (2 Dec 2008):

    Sorry it took me so long to post this. It has been a while that since I have had to this style of writing. This still needs a little rewriting/proof reading...

  • Patricia Shanahan

    Patricia Shanahan gave props (2 Dec 2008):

    Beautiful words& beautiful story ! Lucky is truly a blessing to his wonderful parents.Thanks for sharing the story of this little miracle !

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (2 Dec 2008):

    powerful story... thanks for sharing this miracle with us...

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    Lucky is really a very appropriate name for him. THe photo you took really speak for itself. Very nice photo essay!

  • david ong

    david ong gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    touching story n awesome photograph!!! my vote AF!

  • Nasera S.

    Nasera S. gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    Thanks for posting this finally. This is very “touchy” story and seriously no need of re-writing ! You have done a great job A F !! Of course VOTED YEAH !!!

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    Sweet story and photos! My vote

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    Wonderful job with this! The writing is great and the photos really convey the message here. Great job and you got my vote.

  • Sherry

    Sherry gave props (5 Dec 2008):

    Really special moments you captured! Love your photo essay. Voted

  • d s

    d s gave props (11 Dec 2008):

    beautiful story...great photos! yeah!!

  • Jim Pope

    Jim Pope gave props (22 Dec 2008):

    Great story well told and documented. Thanks for sharing this.

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