Do you remember what was important when you were four years old? What memories do you value most from those years? I can’t recall much from that time; eons ago, but I know life was pretty simple. I imagine I looked forward to birthdays, Christmas, and playing outside with friends. I can still hear my mother calling me “Torrellllllllllllllll, please come inside”. For one four year old however, life is more complex and less free going… The Beauty Formally Known as Zion Knowles.
Meet Zion, this little princess can recite the names of her medication with the same enthusiasm other kids recite their A,B,C’s. Zion is four years old and her favorite color is pink. In May of this year, Zion was diagnosed with Leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells.
I came to know of Zion’s story via Facebook. My assistant shared her story with me and having made a commitment to providing a photo session for one family affected by cancer each year, she suggested Zion and her family be our session for 2012. I agreed and she got in contact with Zion’s parents and we started planning.
The idea for the shoot was simple; to capture Zion and her family having fun. Although we planned ahead and purchased props, our fingers were crossed. We didn’t know what to expect. Would Zion be able to partake in the activities we had planned?
On the day of the shoot, when the Knowles’ arrived, out climbed the most beautiful little girl that I have ever set eyes on. Her personality met us before she did. She took off her face mask and was very excited to partake in our session. She assisted in posing her family members and was extremely photogenic. Joy radiated from her like a sun beam and everything about her was cheerful and as colorful as her head band. Her walk was a skip and she had a permanent smile.
We bought Zion a Barbie kite to fly with her father and she worked it! Running to and fro with the flash and lens bag like crazy people, we made a strong attempt to keep up with Zion. She had us by the long shot. Sweating and bordering dehydration, we got the job done. Her energy was more than we bargained for but it was worth the effort.
I couldn’t help but notice her fascination with the grass. It was a challenge at times to capture her focus but her mom explained that because of her hospitalization, she rarely came outside and her meds didn’t allow for much sun. This was the most fun Zion had in a while… running up and down on the grass, flying her kite.
We are extremely grateful to Zion’s parents Jason and Ancilla Knowles for allowing us to share in their joy and meet Zion. Zion’s cancer is presently in remission and her doctors anticipate a full recovery. She is the epitome of beauty, grace and strength and a reminder to appreciate the simple things. -The beauty formally known as Zion Knowles.