There was only one person who had Down Syndrome in the town where I grew up. His name was Brian and he lived with his family near my high school. Our paths didn’t cross much but when they did, I never knew what to say or how to act around him. Fear of saying the wrong thing usually prevented me from saying anything at all.
I had few opportunities to spend time with people like Brian in my twenties. My discomfort remained intact and unchallenged; a lump in my throat I knew was there but had done nothing to budge. In that sense, I suppose shame was where this work began.
Interested in a photography project that explores the connection between storytelling, empathy and stereotypes, that lump in my throat seemed an uncomfortably honest place to start.
I mentioned the idea to my Aunt and she suggested I call her cousin Lois to discuss the possibility of a project with her daughter, Alyssa. And so it began.
and Holland has tulips is a journal of sorts. A collection of thoughts and events gathered during my time with Alyssa. A documentary about my cousin, our relationship and what it’s taught me.