A set of photos I recently saw on My Modern Met made me feel grateful for two things: my health and that of my family, and that there exist people who just do good for others.
Matej Peljhan is a Slovenian photographer who suffered severe injuries at the age of 10 — including the loss of his right arm and an eye — as he was playing with friends near some explosive devices leftover from World War II. He underwent painful medical treatment and rehabilitation, and ultimately went into the field of clinical psychology and now works with children with special needs.
Peljhan took up conceptual photography seriously in 2009 and he says he tries to capture “simple, everyday moments or original motives, full of contrasts, offering a palette of elementary, easy readable symbols that are telling stories and encourage people to start thinking in another way.” One of his goals with his work is to bring “photography as close as possible to the people with special needs.”
One of those people is 12-year-old Luka, a boy with muscular dystrophy. Peljhan shot a series of photos with Luka called “Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)”, which allow Luka to see through photos what he was only previously able to see in his dreams — things like him skateboarding and swimming — because his increasingly weak muscles require him to be helped in nearly all of even the most basic activities.
The result is an imaginative set of photos that will likely make you grateful for the simple things you can do in life, and that people like Peljhan can help Luka live out some of his dreams even while he’s awake.
Take a look:
The Little Prince 1 of 9
Photos by Matej Peljhan
Running 2 of 9
Of Luka, Peljahn said to Mashable, "He is well aware of his fate but he doesn't give in, either. He wants neither pity nor empathy but wants to stay positive and focused on the things in his life he can (still) do."
Balloon chasing 3 of 9
Luka "approaches all other activities he is, due to his handicapped body, unable to perform, in his own, witty way."
Stair climbing 4 of 9
"Sometimes with the help of his imagination and virtual worlds where his creativity dashes to the sky and makes him forget his physical limitations and bonds."
Skateboarding 5 of 9
As for how "Le Petit Prince" came about, Peljhan told The Huffington Post: "Some time ago, during one of our conversations, [Luka] expressed his wish to see himself in a photo, walking around and doing all sorts of mischief."
Shooting hoops 6 of 9
Without any assistance from Photoshop, Peljhan set up scenes of Luka performing activities that an able-bodied boy could easily do — but positioning him on the ground with props, and then shooting him from above, thereby giving the illusion that he's upright and more active.
Swimming 7 of 9
In real life, Luka's only unassisted movement is wiggling his fingers, which he uses to control his wheelchair.
Breakdancing 8 of 9
Thanks to Peljhan, however, Luka's possibilities are a bit broader.
Imagining 9 of 9
And, quite thankfully, there are no limits to Luka's imagination.
For more of Matej Leljhan's work, visit his website
All photos used with permission from Matej Pelihan
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