This was the final edit for my Picture Story class; it's a story I hope to continue working on, if possible.
Karen Shelby makes a trip to the supply closet early in her evening shift at Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia, MO. Shelby recalls coming home crying from the hospital as a teenager after being told she had the medical condition known as dwarfism. She found a way to work professionally after her mother encouraged her that “you can do anything anyone else can.”
Shelby verifies a patient’s medication while on her Tuesday night shift. Shelby’s mother was a nurse; Shelby started studying nursing after the birth of her son, Chris, in 1986. Although some little people are on disability, she says she herself has never chosen to see what she calls “the height situation” in that light.
Shelby checks on patient Laura Bush. “If I can’t educate people verbally (about
dwarfism), then it’s by showing them I can do it.” She says sometimes patients doubt whether she can lift them but otherwise rarely receives negative comments due to her height.
Jesse Pollock, 8, skates with assistance from his mom, Lecia Pollock, and Shelby during a Little People of America event in Kansas City on November 17, 2009. Shelby is the District 7 LPA Director and enjoys connecting with parents and children born with dwarfism. “People are more aware now because of the Internet, and because of the shows coming out.”
Shelby changes clothes in preparation for a late-afternoon workout at the Sedalia Athletic Club. She says working out is a priority in her life and keeping the weight off prevents too much pressure on her body’s joints. Plus,"it's my time to get away."
Shelby reaches for an item on the top shelf at Wood’s grocery store in Sedalia. Her philosophy of self-sufficiency extends to areas such as shopping. “If there’s nobody to help, I find a way to do it. It takes time to find a clerk.”
Shelby’s son, Chris, 23, sits with his grandmother as she hems his pants prior to Thanksgiving dinner at the family home in Sedalia. Chris is too tall to be considered a little person, Shelby says, but he inherited some aspects of dwarfism even though Chris’s father, was six feet tall.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
An outtake from my final project for Picture Story, which I am very much enjoying shooting despite the looming deadlines. My subject is dwarfism, looking at what life is like to be a little person in this culture. Little people are often portrayed in a derogatory fashion in mainstream movies and the media, and I wanted to show a different side, a more accurate side.
This picture is from a Little People of America (LPA) Christmas party in Kansas City. I was cracking up when the kids were choosing their gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus--it's very serious business, as I recall from my own childhood!
Posted by Clare at 12:28 PM