Behind the scenes for 2nd Anniversary Edition of NE Belizean Magazine is something I will always remember and I want to share with you. This is one of those photoshoots that just stick in your mind and you’ll remember the details for the rest of your life.
NE Magazine: “we would love you to photograph our 2nd year Anniversay Edition. The theme is “Walk across Belize”. We want you to incorporate your “Belize” river photo and Rowan Garel a boy born without the ability to see…” When I asked if they can give me more details, the answer was “We trust you!”.
First thing in my mind was “CHALLENGE! Do it!” Next day, I asked to read the main article about Rowan, just so I can get an idea. Once I heard the story, I knew what I wanted. Initially, I had in mind Rowan walking on a road with Maya mountains in the background… but the time I had for this did not allowed me to travel and scout the perfect location for this. Than, I said… I would also like few intimate, warm, family photos (his sister, mom & dad)… so, I got a second idea: How about if I’ll do a canvas with my B(elize) River and have a photoshoot with Rowan and his family, at his house, around the photo. Everyone loved the idea so… this is what we planned.
I ordered a large canvas, and went in Belize City at Rowan’s home. I reach there and changed the entire room completely. I start moving the couch, take out the TV, bringing a rug from under their table… in 25 minutes they had a brand new room. They looked at me like I was from another planet. I ask Rowan’s dad “come on… let’s move the couch! I think I moved that couch 10 times! And was SO heavy!! Than… the flowers… I moved those 50 times! They start laughing… good, the stress start to go. We were too busy decorating the room for our photoshoot! By the time of the shoot, everyone was laid back and happy that I finally start working. So funny!
The room came out exactly the way I was hoping. A real traditional belizean house, a very nice traditional rug, the flowers, the little lobster trap, and the real bamboo branch… Just Perfect! Rowan’s dad made a joke and told me “Oli, if the photography is not going well, you can easily be home designer… You can do a show HGTV of Belize”. We were laughing so hard almost the entire time. They told me that are feeling like movie stars… and my reply was “what do you mean like movie star? You ARE movie stars! Laughing again! So… the photos you see, are real laughter and real happyness”. A real honour and pleasure to photograph this family! Rowan, I loved your spirit. You have an amazing family that love you and actually, the entire Belize does. Just remember that!
NE MAGAZINE “In this issue we have as our main feature Rowan Garel…13 year old is just one of more than 1200 belizeans whose life has been positively impacted by BCVI’s work. As a premature baby, Rowan was born with a blinding disease-retinopathy of prematurity…” Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) is active in all the districts in Belize as rehabilitation field officers travel to homes and schools creating individual plans to help Blind and Visually impaired persons integrate into mainstream activities…”