The heART Project: Joshua’s Dream


Stories stir our imagination; they take us on journeys otherwise impossible.

For many, a story is an opportunity to leave the everyday behind: to be diverted for a while from our concerns and worries.

When Mette Thomas approached The heART Project she had just such a story in mind. She sought a visual story to help her son Joshua live out his dream of being a basketball pro: to be an NBA star.

Joshua has a Vein of Galen Malformation: a condition of the blood vessels in his brain which steals blood from the rest of the brain. This has left Joshua with 6 strokes, left weakness, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. Distressingly, the family also found that his condition is considered progressive. He began deteriorating in 2012 and is the oldest surviving child with his condition in Australia.

Mette spoke to Karen Alsop, an award-winning professional photographer and co-founder of The heART Project in collaboration with The Sebastian Foundation, to discuss Joshua’s dream and how that could be made into a ‘virtual’ reality. “Joshua’s mum, shared his story and Joshua’s dreams to be a basketball star, I knew immediately that we could help Josh live out that dream in picture form,” Karen said. “We also learned Josh recently got a Labrador as an assistance dog. Included in his dream story of being an NBA star is teaching his dog how to play basketball.”

Through creative photographic compositing using Adobe Photoshop, Karen gave Joshua the chance to live his dream. Karen was also keen to involve in this creative challenge other digital photographic artists who wished to assist and learn.

The heART Project: doing good and motivating good

At that time Adam Cubito was the General Manager of The Sebastian Foundation. “Karen inspired us,” Adam said. “Through Karen’s ongoing support and the coaching workshops she’s organised, The heART Project has attracted a sub-community of other motivated Australian photographers who are increasingly providing hands-on support.

“We’ve attracted 15 photographers so far,” Adam said. “With more to come: more interested in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”

Concerning Karen’s workshops, Adam said, “I’ve attended a few and I am amazed to see photographers who are at the top of their game get a wow moment on their faces as they realise the compositing power of Photoshop in the hands of an expert. They learn tips and tricks from Karen. It’s been an amazing partnership with Story Art. It’s been good for all involved.

“But it’s more. All these photographers know they are helping to do good and bring some joy to a family that carries an unimaginable burden.”

“She was bringing something entirely new and different to us. We loved the idea of using photography to help families. We also loved her idea of using this highly creative good deed to inspire and coach other photographers. To not only spread the word but to also help pay it forward,” Adam concluded.

For more details on Story Art click HERE


Posted on 12-01-2016

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