It started as a chance encounter on a train. Photographer Lindsay Morris was on her way back from a photo festival where she had been inspired by a seminar on photo essays, when she happened to sit next to Janice Di Joseph and her daughter, Ricchina.
Lindsay immediately felt drawn to Ricchina, a young woman with Down Syndrome that she describes as “dreamy… warm and welcoming,” and ended up striking up a conversation with her mother.
As the two chatted, the conversation turned to the great lengths to which Janice goes to make sure that Ricchina is happy. In the past, she had managed to arrange meetings between Ricchina and the likes of Justin Timberlake, and now she was in the process of planning a wedding-themed 25th birthday surprise for Ricchina.
That’s where Morris truly steps into this story.
Morris’ work revolves around capturing intimate, touching, out of the norm stories through her photography, and to have the opportunity to capture what would turn out to be one of the happiest days of Ricchina’s life was something Morris didn’t want to pass up.
She offered her services as a photographer, Janice said yes, and what resulted was a photo essay that is heart-warming in the way that only real, raw humanity can ever be:
“People have extreme discomfort with people who don’t conform to our expectations of normal,” Morris tells Slate, explaining why it is she tells the stories she does through her photography. “I think photography gives us the opportunity to tell a story compassionately and gives a glimpse into a world they’re unaccustomed to seeing.”
As for Ricchina and her mother, the moments captured in these images — from the two hugging after Ricchina donned her wedding dress, to the tear-jerking photograph of the two sharing a mother-daughter dance — will stay with them forever.
To see the rest of the essay, or if you’d like to see more of Morris impressive portfolio, be sure to head over to Morris website by clicking here.
Image credits: Photographs by Lindsay Morris and used with permission