The Max Harrison Foundation ( in development )
Teaching kids with Down syndrome how to use cameras for self expression
The Max Harrison Foundation isn’t a place it’s a global movement.
A program is being developed so that children with Down syndrome all over the world can learn how to use cameras for self expression.
We believe that every individual is valuable and has a unique story to tell. Through the visual ( and universal ) language of photography, we bring to light each human beings creative expression while at the same time tearing down old stereotypes.
The Max Harrison Foundation is named after Catherine Just’s son, who loves creating images with a Polaroid camera and his mama’s 4x5 large format camera.
Ever since Max was born, Catherine has had the experience of a culture that either feels sorry for her for having a child with Down syndrome or tells her what an angel she has because he has Down syndrome. Both are based on a stereotype and have nothing to do with getting to know Max as an individual. They see Down syndrome, not a human with his own point of view, preferences, strengths and challenges, opinions and dance moves. This experience included doctors, teachers, babysitters, family members, friends and people pushing their grocery cart next to them in Target. People look away, or tell Catherine that they knew a person with Down syndrome in school and they are all so loving. It sounds like a compliment, but really it’s an assumption based on the old stereotype that everyone with Down syndrome is the same. Max is ignored, not given the same opportunities typically developing children are given without knowing if he can manage it or not. The intention is to raise awareness that people with Down syndrome deserve the same respect all of us do… We all just want to be seen, heard, loved, understood. We’re creating this program so that it travels City to City and Country to Country. That way not only do we have a wider reach of children with Down syndrome learning a new creative outlet, we’re also providing photographers and other volunteers all over the world the opportunity to learn and shift their own way of seeing and experiencing the individual rather than the diagnosis.
Bridge the gap.
For more information, to volunteer, teach or to find out when the program is heading your way contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Instagram @themaxharrisonfoundation