Congratulations 2016 Easter Seals Photographers – 17th Annual Photography Exhibit Gallery


Meaghan Tschetter stands with her portrait of Layla at the 17th Annual Easter Seals Photo Exhibit Opening Reception.

College of DuPage Photography Department in Partnership with Easter Seals  17th Anniversary Photography Exhibition

On October 27th, 24 children from Easter Seals DuPage & the Fox Valley were featured in the 17th Annual Photography Exhibition.  For the last 17 years, the College of DuPage (COD) Photography Department has partnered with them to showcase the beauty and daily lives of children with special needs.

In 2000, Terry Vitacco, Professor of Photography and Coordinator of the Photography Program at the College of DuPage, agreed to have her Visual Storytelling students photograph Easter Seals children. “I saw this as a great vehicle for them to have a meaningful, real world assignment for their final project,” said Vitacco.

Every spring, COD Visual Storytelling students are paired with children from Easter Seals and photograph the daily lives of the families to document the challenges and accomplishments of children with different disabilities by creating photo essays with their still images.  In addition, they produce short movies about their subjects to be shown on the COD i-Site Photography website and Easter Seals’ website. The photos are also entered into a juried competition and the selected images are showcased as large format prints for the exhibit.

“Ever since the first show in 2000, the exhibit continues to grow,” Vitacco says.  “Because there are more families that want to be featured than there are students, I ask past students to participate.  We call them our ‘Special Forces’ photographers and in this way everyone can be accommodated.”

The exhibit itself not only brings joy to the families being photographed, but it also brings awareness to those who have never experienced the world of special needs children.

Students get to know the family and become friends with the child they are photographing. This helps breaks down stereotypes and increases understanding about families with special needs children.

“We are truly thankful for this collaboration with College of DuPage,” Theresa Forthofer, President & CEO, said.  “Together, we create inspiring images that illustrate what is possible for the children and families that we serve.”

“I think the most important thing my students learn by doing the Easter Seals project is that their photography really makes a difference,” says Vitacco. “The families that see the photos hanging in the Easter Seals lobby are encouraged and heartened that their child can enjoy life despite their challenges.”

The exhibition will be held on Thursday, October 27th at College of DuPage. At the conclusion of the event, the photos will be brought to the Villa Park Center to be hung in the lobby.  Easter Seals is continuously grateful for the partnership with the COD Photography Department.


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