Monday, July 21, 2008


This is Sydney. I met Sydney through the Littlest Heroes Project. Sydney is 15, and has Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is on the Autism Spectrum, and is often initially diagnosed as autism. But autism is unusual in girls. Rett on the other hand, is rarely found in boys. In addition to typical autism symptoms, like lack of eye contact and loss of verbal communication, Rett usually affects the motor skills more severely than autism. Girls with Rett constantly wring their hands and clap. They usually lose the ability walk, if they ever learned in the first place. Sydney is one of the rare ones that never lost her ability to walk.

When I met Sydney yesterday, she was very excited about the session. She ran up to me and leaned against me with her forehead. Apparently, this is her version of a hug. I was touched, as her mom says she usually has to get to know someone before she does this. Her mom had laid out numerous outfits, and I helped her choose a few for the session. We started the session near a lake and some flower gardens, and wrapped it up at the pool. Sydney loves the pool! And to make it even better, there was a band playing at the pool last night, and she LOVES music.

Sydney's playful personality came out, and it was like a game to long would I wait with the camera poised, for her to look at me? I would wait, and wait. And then, just as I would lower the camera, she would flash a grin my way and laugh!

I won't lie and say this was an easy session--it wasn't. Sydney's condition means she can't just follow instructions to sit and smile for the camera. Getting her to look my direction was very difficult. Getting her to smile simultaneously was nearly impossible. But oh man, when she did--it was amazing! And so worth the effort.

To find out more about Rett Syndrome, and what you can do to help girls like Sydney and their families, visit this website: Rett Syndrome



Brooklyn said...

These pictures are AMAZING. Sydney is beautiful, you captured her sweet spirit. My daughter Brooklyn is three years old and has rett syndrome. I would love to connect with Sydney's mom. Would you be willing to pass along my daughter's blog to her?
Thank you for sharing Sydney with the world......
Mom to Brooklyn

Liz said...

She is such a beautiful girl and you did a wonderful job capturing her.
If I was her Mom I would have the hardest time picking from this set.

kimbrali said...

shes beautiful.
those eyes!!!!
and she looks so happy. i think you made a friend:)

Jo said...

Wow Barbie, these are beautiful! I especially love numbers 1, 4, 9, 10 & 11! She is beautiful, and you've captured so much personality!

alexandra said...

I had to check these out after your post on 2Peas.

Those are really breathtaking, Barbie. Those photos show that you really made a connection with her.

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos! A beautiful girl and a talented photographer! WOW!


Marfa said...

She's lovely...such beautiful eyes. I am learning, thanks to you, I now know what Rett Syndrome is...thank God she seems to be doing well and can walk! What a blessing!

abbysworld said...

She is incredibly beautiful. Those eyes are just amazing. My own 3 year daughter Abby also has Rett Syndrome. Thank you so much for putting a light on this.

David Wright said...

Barbie, these images are fantastic!!! What a wonderful artistic view of this darling little girl. You have definitely captured her spirit and beauty.

After you had told me what you had done over the phone, I could not wait to come online and see these remarkable images. You really have made a friend here with Sydney, her family as well as some of the other bloggers here! Congratulations on this difficult shoot. Your work speaks for itself!
David Wright

In-Focus said...

Thank you all for your supportive and encouraging comments! Sydney really touched my heart, and I hope that many good things come from this session--that Sydney's mom has portraits to cherish, that reinforces to Sydney somehow just how special and beautiful she is, that more people become aware of Rett Syndrome, and do something to help find new therapies, treatments, and perhaps even a cure, and that more photographers become involved with charities like The Littlest Heroes Project.

Amanda said...

Excellent work Barbie.. as usual! You did a remarkable job! The pictures are beautiful as is Sydney and I think they're perfect!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

She is SO beautiful!!! What amazing eyes!! I am enjoying looking through your blog! :)
Mommy to:
Kennedy &

amdphoto said...

Barbie, SOOOOO amazing! I love these pictures. They are wonderful. You are such an artist! I would love to know how you captured those "eye's" so dramatically! I think the eyes look GREAT! Take Care!

Teresa said...

What a beautiful girl! I loved seeing these wonderful portraits of Sydney. Thank you for sharing with all of us.