Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Aaron Vincent Elkaim took 16-year-old Devin Scullion’s picture for the Wall Street Journal in 2012. The story was about the break-through experimental treatment Devin was undergoing for Progeria, a disease that normally kills by the age of 13. Publication increased awareness of this devastating and rare genetic condition and of the hope offered to those coping with the disease, but Aaron feels the greatest change was a personal one.

 Aaron describes Devin as being much like any other 16-year-old kid. He had a great sense of humour and showed off his video games and model planes. The whole family laughed a lot and told stories—love filled the air. Due to his condition, Devin is visually striking but it wasn’t his appearance that stood out to Aaron. It was the look in his eyes: Devin presented himself to the camera without a hint of the insecurity so often seen with teenagers, and even adults, when facing the lens. He had such a sense of dignity and strength, of who he was. “To see courage and security in a person who was literally living from day to day made me realize how precious life is,” says Aaron, “and how important it is to be confident in who you are no matter the circumstances.”

Aaron Vincent Elkaim (b.1981) is an independent Canadian documentary photographer and founding member of the Boreal Collective. His work focuses on historical narratives that examine cultural transitions within the modern economic and geopolitical landscape. Aaron believes in the power of long-term work to allow greater understanding of a subject, and only through proper understanding can a truly valid photographic perspective be presented. For him photography offers a gateway and motive to seek out, explore and better understand the human condition in our rapidly evolving world, and seeks to provide new, varied perspectives on the complexities of humanity and its environment. He believes that the greatest photography is open ended; rather than providing answers, he urges us to ask questions.
Aaron’s project Sleeping with the Devil won the 2012 Daylight Photo Award, he also received an honourable mention for the 2012 Anthropographia Human Rights Through Visual Storytelling Award, and is a winner of the 2012 Critical Mass Top 50. His past project, A Co-Existence, focused on the 2000-year old Jewish history of Morocco. It was exhibited at Voies-Off in Arles, Fotographia in Rome, and the Reportage Photography Festival in Australia in 2011, and was a Featured Exhibition at the CONTACT Photography festival in Toronto.