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Sick kids to fashion models

Photographer David James did a fashion portrait session with his ten-year-old niece Madison Love who died of a rare brain cancer during lockdown. Photos: David James.

The loss of a close loved-one has inspired a photographer to give sick children a moment in the spotlight.

After a magazine cover shoot with his terminally ill ten-year-old niece, photographer David James wants to offer the “awesome” experience to other ill kids.

And with the plan in the “germination” stage, David hopes the community will get on board.

“I’m thinking about ways to go around this,” he says.

David says he’s unsure whether to reach out to families privately, or if it needs to go through an organisation.

“It’s putting an idea out there,” he says.

His niece, Madison, is the motivation behind the initiative after she passed away from a rare brain cancer during lockdown, David says.

“I wasn’t able to go to her funeral because of lockdown restrictions and funeral numbers,” he says.

“I made a strong connection with her; she was a good friend.

“She was cool to hang out with and through her, I learnt about myself.”

He says while on a shoot in Christchurch, he invited his niece along.

“I said, let’s get dressed up and do a fun shoot.

“The clothes were all too big for her, but that didn’t matter.”

Photographer David James did a fashion portrait session with his ten-year-old niece Madison Love who died of a rare brain cancer during lockdown. Photo: David James.

David says during the photo shoot, Madison forgot her troubles.

“For 15 minutes she totally forgot that she was sick.

“I thought after, what an awesome experience to give kids.”

He says the idea has been building since that shoot.

“And I don’t think I grieved properly.

“When I had this idea, I felt some of that grief lifting.”

His mini travel studio has everything needed for a magazine-style fashion portraiture photo session, and he says hair and wardrobe stylists have offered to donate their time.

“I’ll set it up in the living room or somewhere convenient for the family.

“I want to be really respectful about the whole situation.

“I’m seeing if someone can give me ideas about how to go about it.”

David says it’s an awesome experience that results in some neat pictures.

“Every time I look at those photos, I’ll always remember that time,” he says.

“It’s a reason to forget about all the crap for a minute.”

“One of the things that struck me about Madison was how arty and creative she was.

“She had the creative, goofy, weird genes that I have; I fell in love with her straight away.”

To offer support or knowledge, get in contact with David James at [email protected]

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