Michael Ririe has been taking photos for a long time.
But his photos aren’t just photos, they are studies in psychology. His work deals with the human spirit—both his own and that of others—and the struggles and triumphs entwined with life.
His recent project is an extensive photojournalistic essay on the Now I Can Foundation, which is a non-profit group that helps children with disabilities (such as cerebral palsy) become more independent through physical therapy. Even though the treatment comes from a non-profit, the cost is still burdensome for many families, and many families rely on donations from the community.
Ririe’s objective is to raise awareness for this organization. An exhibition of his photographs will be on display Feb. 10 at the SCERA Center for the Arts, Gallery 101. Copies of Ririe’s first book, containing fine duotone reproductions of his images, will be for sale at the gallery for $29.99, and all proceeds from the book sales will benefit patients who can’t afford therapy.
“I introduced myself to the Now I Can Foundation early in 2011 with hopes of collaborating to create an awareness documentary that would be helpful to their noble cause. It has turned into much more than that,” Ririe said.
“My initial approach was to stand back and quietly observe while these patients received their therapy. They didn’t let me simply observe for long as they engaged me and were interested in what I was doing. Soon I was on the therapy mat involved in the exercise and photographing on a personal level. I watched as my amazing friends struggled, recognized progress, smiled, fell, laughed, and cried. I felt connected and I felt alive.”
Ririe hopes that each viewer will hear the laughs, dreams, frustrations and cries of each of his subjects. He hopes that his work will help each viewer become aware of the unique potential, determination and purpose inherent in both the chidren he photographed and in themselves. Ririe said, “I hope you feel the need to reach out your hand to help. I hope that you change.”