Southwest The MagazineÂ
If you donâ€™t read the in-flight magazines, youâ€™re missing out. And I donâ€™t just say that because I recently photographed the cover story for Southwest Airlinesâ€™ Southwest the Magazine. Youâ€™ll be missing the opportunity to read about the incredible story of Derek Amato, one of a rare group of acquired or sudden savants â€“ someone who survives a traumatic brain injury and emerges with an extreme talent.
Derek Amato dove into the shallow end of a pool at a party. After being diagnosed with a severe concussion and resting for 5 days, he woke up with an unquenchable urge to play the piano. He doesnâ€™t even read music, but the most complex and intricate works – spanning all genres – now flow from his fingertips.
What I love about this story is our ability to still be wowed, that there are still mysteries in our minds and our humanity.
â€œAmato feels like as a sudden savant, he can stand for something more than just the music. He is an example of what we all could be. â€˜Itâ€™s not that I understand human potential any better than anyone else,â€™ he says. â€˜I just understand that there is so much more of it than we know.â€™â€
It was an honor to be trusted with this story and I was super excited when I heard about the opportunity. Â Then I just had to figure out how to pull it offâ€¦Kevin de Miranda, creative director at Pace Communications, came to me with the conceptual idea of Derek playing the piano at the bottom of a pool. Â Though I had only photographed one underwater image once before, I loved the idea of creating something ethereal & beautiful. Â It was a bit of challenge logistically as well as technically but Derek was amazing throughout â€“ as generous with his time and energy as he is with his story and his music. He was up for anything and ready for the underwater adventure. Â