Maine is a fantastic, relaxing place. But not for Owen, because of his health conditions.
At the age of nine, Owen started feeling discomfort in his lower back. Over the next couple of years, his health deteriorated. He was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. His symptoms were debilitating and made him bedridden for most of his childhood.
Owen was always in the hospital or at home with excruciating pain. He resigned himself to a life with no goals or aspirations.
One day, Owen’s mom brought him to a wedding, to get him out of bed. For some odd reason, three people gave him their cameras to take photos at the wedding. Coincidentally, that lit a spark and he fell in love with photography.
Owen found his passion for photography. He started fiddling around with his Dad’s fancy cameras and fantasized about going for photoshoots. But his poor health would only allow him to surf the internet for inspiration.
That’s when he found Jacob.
Owen stumbled across ‘behind the scenes’ videos of Jacob’s work. Each photograph of Jacob’s inspired Owen. Jacob was a famous Canadian artist and a Green Environment activist.
Owen idolized Jacob and followed his work from afar. Jacob’s fun and energetic personality attracted Owen.
Years went by and Owen’s health started getting a little better, but it was still fragile. He defied the odds though, and was approaching his 21st birthday. He had a very unusual birthday wish.
If he could have anything on his 21st birthday, it would be to meet Jacob.
Owen’s sister took his wish seriously. She found Jacob on Facebook and requested him to send Owen a recorded ‘Happy Birthday’ video.
Jacob responded with a surprise visit to Maine instead.
The surprise continued. Owen spoke to Jacob about his fascination with photography. They did photoshoots together and spent eight days gallivanting around Maine.
Where did Owen’s energy come from, when he was usually bedridden at home?
It was more of adrenaline than actual energy.
Owen wanted to get into Jacob’s style of photography, except with a slightly darker conceptual style. But he was afraid to experiment. Time together with Jacob gave Owen the confidence to finally step into that style of photography.
With his newfound courage, Owen created his first major photographic series, placing second in the portfolio category of the Japanese International Photo Awards.
Owen still struggles with his illnesses, but continues to create great art work.
Photography was like a release for Owen — a way to connect with other people. Photography practically saved his life.
“Why did you hop so far to surprise me?” Owen asked Jacob.
“For moments of significance — a chance to make a difference in your life,” Jacob replied.
We get surprised when things happen in a rhythm and events flow with no effort. Somehow, Owen’s photography experience invites us to reflect on the flow of life — those serendipitous moments when everything happens as if a more robust and knowing being is in charge.
Note: Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects blood flow. POTS causes the development of symptoms — usually lightheadedness, fainting and an uncomfortable, rapid increase in heartbeat — that come on when standing up from a reclining position and are relieved by sitting or lying back down.
Green-Environment activist: These are people who want to scale impact as an artist to support and champion for the protection of the environment.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!