The Korea Herald


Photographer helps wheelchair-bound boy realize impossible wish

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 22, 2013 - 10:45

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Playing basketball, going swimming, dancing to his favorite music, or just walking up a flight of stairs is not what an average 12-year-old boy would call “his dream.”

But for Luka, doing such simple everyday activity is possible only in his imagination. He is suffering from a muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that deprives his ability to move his body over time.

Right now, the only parts of his limbs that he can move at his will are his fingers, which allow him to control the joystick of his wheelchair and draw pictures.

With the help of photographer Matej Peljhan, Luka has now realized one of his wishes.

In his latest series “Le Petit Prince (Little Prince),” Peljhan featured photos in which Luka appears to do all sorts of activities.

“Some time ago, during one of our conversations, he expressed his wish to see himself on a photo, walking around and doing all sorts of mischief,” Peljhan explained in a context he wrote about the series.

In the photos, Luka joyfully runs while holding a balloon, break dances to music from a boombox, swims with a school of fish, and even plays basketball in his imaginary world. Rather than to rely on photoshop, Peljhan laid down props around Luka to make it look like he is walking, playing, and exploring.

Luka knows his fate but he “doesn’t give in,” said Peljhan. Although Luka’s lifespan is severely compromised, he stays positive and focuses on things he can do rather than to obsess over what he has lost.

Peljhan said Luka’s wish seemed impossible at first, but it turned out all that was needed was a change of perspective.

“Luka knows how to do it. He challenges us to prove we are able to do it as well,” he said.

By Yoon Min-sik

*Photos courtesy of Matej Peljhan