Allyssa Schoenemann, 22, is a Graduate student at Stony Brook University pursuing a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She also works as a substitute teacher for middle schools and high schools.
Allyssa was born with Diastrophic Dwarfism. Born with a disability, Allyssa had to accept her physical limits and learn how to ignore the curious stares and mumblings of strangers. However, she did say her disability came with an odd benefit: people easily remember her.
My challenge was finding Allyssa’s story. Going in I didn’t know if I had a story because, as Allyssa pointed out, I had only chosen her as my subject because she looked different – she was in a automatic wheelchair. However, after talking with her for an hour, I slowly started to see what the story could be.
Since I don’t have much photography experience, and since this was my first official audio slideshow, I felt lost most of the time. Especially with the compositions for each and every photo, and dealing with bad and inconsistent light, I felt like whatever I was doing wasn’t good enough. What I can say is, I tried my best to make them look good, but I still need much improvement.
Having Allyssa as my subject was a blast — she was really cooperative and willing to help me throughout the project. I couldn’t have picked a better person to do my story on and with. All in all, if I did do something right, I think it’s the narrative. I do think I captured the essence of what Allyssa wanted to tell me and the world.