Interview with Gemma Cardona // Paddy's Purpose
I'll never forget our first meeting on a photoshoot for Dorset Children's Foundation.
We had a connection immediately, which is the loveliest feeling in my universe.
You are quite experienced with photoshoots with Paddy.
What do the photos mean to you?
You’re so right, from our very first meeting we connected, and I hoped we might become friends.
Over the years Paddy has been asked to attend photo shoots for several children’s charities that support us, and I have always felt honoured to be able to give a little back to promote their services. Paddy has such an expressive face and very photogenic, his image has appeared in many leaflets, posters and even on the back of a double decker bus!
While it’s nice to have these images, the photoshoots have always taken place on location, they’re posed pictures that don’t capture a memory and memories to me are so important.
Paddy has a life limiting condition, he is severely epileptic and has cerebral palsy.
Both conditions can cause complications and his life expectancy is much less than average.
To live with this knowledge makes you want to capture every moment of life and preserve it forever, ‘just in-case’.
I can confirm that Paddy is a dream to photograph - his eyes are just amazing!
After that formal shoot for the charity, we started chatting and I was so excited to ask you if you would let me take photos of your everyday moments.
And you said yes :)
When I was offered the opportunity of a home photo shoot that would capture our everyday life, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to create lasting memories for us but also I could see how being able to share pictures of our day to life would help enhance my educational work.
As someone that works to create awareness through Paddy's purpose and increase understanding of people with disabilities, I am used to talking about our life in a very honest and candid way, but never had the images to illustrate my words.
Now when I visit a company or school to share our story, I can show them our pictures, this has really added to my work and increased the impact of my presentations.
The photos are so powerful and really give people a glimpse into our day to day world.
I want the world to see that Paddy is human, and his family are very ‘normal’.
I want to share our truth and show what goes on behind our closed door, the good and the bad.
We have achieved that with this photo shoot.
On an even more personal level, as a mother I am always doubting myself, feeling not quite good enough (as most mothers do).
To be able to take a step back and view myself and my family through a lens has been incredibly powerful.
To see my beautiful family, in harmony, connecting, playing, caring, I look at these pictures and see myself in a new light.
I see a family at peace in a difficult world and I feel proud for all I have achieved.
This is so importrant, Gemma!
Your journey has huge ups and downs and I'm truly grateful for you to leting us be close to you.
You know, that your session is so special to me and I'm in tears putting the photos together for this post.
Can't wait to hug you again!
With Lots of LOVE,
Alexandra Szigeti and Gabor Csako