Jason hops out to the deck of the pool, smiling, proud and without the aid of his prosthetic leg or any crutches. As a personal trainer, and a natural athlete he has a strong sense of balance and endurance. I knew as soon as I saw him, I was going to take his portrait.
When he was a young college student, on a basketball scholarship, he had a horrifying car accident. The car he was traveling in flipped over the freeway divider and landed him directly in the path of on coming traffic.
In order to save his life, the doctors had to amputate his leg. They tried to save it for eight days, then, they had to fight to save Jason. An infection was taking over. His choice; live with one leg, or die with both.
When I approached Jason with the idea of taking his portrait, he immediately agreed and, although I was a total stranger, we’ve become friends and I am grateful he trusted me enough to portray him the way I see him each day at the pool:
Strong, empowering, generous and full of life.
After the accident, he had to come to terms with the fact that he would not become a professional basketball player. I cannot even begin to imagine what this process must have been like for him.
At the end of our shoot we were at the gym where he trains his clients. He had his LAKERS Jersey with him and asked me if I would take his portrait wearing the jersey. I felt like this was a moment for him to experience what it would be like to be a well known b-ball player and I wanted him to look as powerful as I know he is.
I’m very honored that his pool portrait has been included as a finalist in National Geographic’s annual portrait contest. You can vote for it here: