Oliver Hellowell is an extraordinarily talented landscape and wildlife photographer. He captures details that others do not notice; he sees the world with a unique perspective. Oliver also has Down Syndrome.
The 18-year-old hopes to become a professional photographer in the UK, his home country. His mother, Wendy, shared with the BBC that she believes the opportunity to support himself doing something that he loves is an encouraging possibility that she hopes to see him achieve.
Wendy believes that Oliver's out-of-the-ordinary view of his surroundings is what gives his photography the ethereal quality that fans cannot resist. She set up his Facebook page to give Oliver a wider audience for his work, and it quickly garnered over 52,000 “likes” as supporters and photography enthusiasts all over the world began to recognize the outstanding talent he possesses.
Down Syndrome occurs when each strand of an individual's DNA yields an extra replication of the 21st chromosome. This extra chromosome means a death sentence for far too many people. In general, the public perception of Down Syndrome is very negative – a fact supported by the high incidence of abortion among parents who receive a prenatal Down Syndrome diagnosis for their child.
The number of mothers who choose abortion after receiving this diagnosis likely exceeds 75%. That's why it's very encouraging to hear that Oliver's mother views Down Syndrome as a positive, unique attribute that has helped Oliver to hone his skill. Stories like Oliver's shed light on the abilities and talents that are overlooked by the community that would prefer to focus only on the negative aspects of the condition.
Photo via Facebook/Oliver Hellowell – Photographer with Down Syndrome