I just finished with a week in Troy, Missouri during the Missouri Photo Workshop — what a whirlwind week of amazing coffee-fueled community journalism. I met so many amazing Missourians and photographers, soaked up a ton of knowledge from faculty members Dennis Dimmick and Randy Cox and just learned a lot all around. I did a story about a man with mental disabilities, Jeffrey Coyle. Though I was hesitant to do a story about someone with disabilities, it ended up being a very, very rewarding experience. I had such an incredible time with him, his roommates and his caretakers in his home and throughout his daily life, where it seems there is never a dull moment. I'm very thankful to have been able to have that experience, as I had never worked much with people with disabilities before and it was amazing beyond what I ever imagined.
Thanks to everyone who made the week so memorable and wonderful — whether it was through critiques, laughing at my terrible pool skills, dancing to terrible cover bands in dive bars or drinking beers.
Here's my story summary: Jeffrey is both old and young — his spirit is young, his body is old and his brain is in limbo. He enjoys Halloween, silly T-shirts and roller coasters, but as a mentally disabled man approaching 65, he is showing signs of dementia. Though he is a very social person that loves to introduce himself to strangers (much to the chagrin of his caretakers), he often forgets people he knows or mixes up names. Regardless of his fluctuating state of mind, Jeffrey is a lovable character with a contagious personality, but it remains to be seen how his developing age will affect his everyday life.