The original photography of Dr. Jeffrey Shultz, Professor of Education and Assistant Provost for Special Projects, is featured on the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website as a part of the Creativity and Parkinson’s Project. The project exists to explore, support and encourage the therapeutic value of creativity in Parkinson’s and hosts an online gallery by people with PD. Shultz uses HDR photography and a posterizing filter to capture the beauty in flower blooms, symbolic of his own efforts.
“With each step, a flower blooms.” So reads a magnet my wife, Norah, gave me shortly after I was diagnosed with PD in 2002. My most prevalent symptom is a tightening in my thighs that make it, when I’m most symptomatic, nearly impossible to walk. Attributed to Thich Nhat Hanh, the quote is meant to remind me that each step, in its moment, is precious and no matter how I struggle at my worst times, there is still beauty in my efforts.
And so, there is a connection between flowers and walking. About six years ago, Norah gave me a digital SLR camera and I began, almost immediately, to photograph flowers. It has become one of the ways I remind myself of the beauty in the world. Through medication, diet, massage, Reiki, exercise, and a supportive and loving spouse, I manage to keep walking most days from early morning until nearly bedtime. I am grateful for every step I am able to take and have a collection of flower photographs that remind me how lucky I am.