Photographer Takes boy with Muscular Dystrophy on an Imaginary Adventure
April 19, 2013 2:32 AM   Subscribe

Photographer Matej Pelhjan collaborates with 12 year old Luka to create pictures of Luka enjoying activities that his Muscular Dystrophy make impossible in real life. "Slovenia-based photographer Matej Peljhan recently teamed up with a 12-year-named Luka who suffers from muscular dystrophy, to create a wildly imaginative series of photos depicting the boy doing things he is simply unable to do because of his degenerative condition. While he can still use his fingers to drive a wheelchair and to draw, things like skateboarding and swimming are simply not possible."

If you like Pelhjan's work, a more extensive photograph portfolio can be found here (contains some nudes which may be NSFW depending on where you work).
posted by Faintdreams (22 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know whether this is wonderful or the saddest thing I ever heard of.
posted by Segundus at 3:52 AM on April 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Definitely bittersweet. I occasionally care for kids with muscular dystrophy and it is a horrible disease. Luka looks like he is enjoying himself, though, which makes me smile.
posted by TedW at 4:27 AM on April 19, 2013

Wow, I like the way the writer phrased things: the photographer "teamed up with a 12-year-old named Luka"; they had a conversation about Luka's "understandably normal desire to play sports or go swimming"; the series shows their "shared sense of humor." Maybe I've been on facebook too long but I was expecting something manipulative or performance-arty. This was refreshingly free of mock-heroism and just all about a kid's imagination. Thank you for posting it.
posted by headnsouth at 4:51 AM on April 19, 2013 [9 favorites]

The artist's website. It appears Luka is not his first subject with a disability. Very cool.
posted by headnsouth at 4:54 AM on April 19, 2013

So great. I love this.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:21 AM on April 19, 2013

Definitely, what makes these work is that Luka is a collaborator, an active part of the creation of art. His eye contact in the break-dance photo was key for me--there's a feeling that he's loving every minute and wants us to see him and not a disability.

I thought these would make me sad, but they don't. The absence of digital effects and the witty use of detail, like the sock fish, did give me a big smile.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:24 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I was expecting Photoshops. These are way cooler, because you can imagine the fun the subject had while they were setting them up.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2013

Thirding the "I was expecting explotitive photoshops and this was way better" sentiment.
posted by sy at 6:16 AM on April 19, 2013

The way it's set up without Photoshop is exactly what seems like it would be fun for the kid. He's not actually riding a skateboard, but he's really playing with a skateboard (rather than sitting at a computer and making a picture of himself playing with a skateboard).
posted by straight at 6:28 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

This is lovely. I wasn't ready to be so impressed!
posted by psoas at 6:30 AM on April 19, 2013

It's great, and awesome to see the obvious collaborative effort, but it definitely still made me cry. His little skinny limbs :(
posted by gaspode at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2013

Something like this could have been a ham-handed attempt to change your opinion about how "beautiful" the subject is, but the way it's done it's all about highlighting the expression on her face.

(Which, duh, of course would be the point with that picture.)
posted by straight at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2013

I think this is awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 9:47 AM on April 19, 2013

The format and style of these photos is very reminiscent of the series dreams of flying by Jan von Holleben.
posted by metaphorever at 9:56 AM on April 19, 2013

I really like his photography in general.
posted by hoyland at 10:32 AM on April 19, 2013

Great post! These are terrific.
posted by chicxulub at 12:23 PM on April 19, 2013

The second photo, with the ping pong ball bubbles and the sock fishes, is brilliant.
posted by xedrik at 12:37 PM on April 19, 2013

Here are photos of you showing much fun you're not having, doing the things you're not able to do.

Hope you enjoy it!
posted by markkraft at 7:50 PM on April 19, 2013

did you read the article markkraft? The kid helped with the project. It was partially his idea.
posted by sweetkid at 7:51 PM on April 19, 2013

I'm not super comfortable with the idea on general principle, but then again, I ain't that kid.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:10 PM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

The photographer is extremely talented either way, by the by.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:10 PM on April 19, 2013

Here are photos of you showing much fun you're not having, doing the things you're not able to do.

Looks to me like he's having fun in those photos, doing something he is able to do.

When I made robot costumes with my 5-year-old kids, my hands did most of the work and I came up with most of the design, but they were absolutely involved and rightly told people that "we" made them. I have no problem believing this kid felt (and had) a similar level of involvement in this project, even if his hands weren't moving the stuff around and many of the ideas were the photographer's.
posted by straight at 11:36 AM on April 20, 2013

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