Abby Law’s first camera was not exactly traditional.
“I had a little Nintendo DSi … so I would just go around and take photos with it,” she said.
For Christmas that year, Law, who was 10 years old, received a Canon Powershot, beginning her early exposure to the photography world.
Now 14, the Highland Park High School freshman has taken ribbon-winning photos at the State Fair of Texas and the Trinity River Photo Contest for the past three years. She’s also had two photos published in National Geographic Kids magazine.
Law hosted her first art show at Christy M. Boutique in Snider Plaza in April. But the show wasn’t merely another form of exposure for her work.
It was a way for Law to give back to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, where she had surgery a month later to treat her scoliosis.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, scoliosis affects 5-7 million people in the United States, most often developing in children between 10 and 15.
Law, who was diagnosed with the spinal condition in seventh grade, was quickly saddled with a back brace — or as she affectionately calls it, her “death brace,” — for 20 hours a day over the next year and a half.
“I would have to carry it around the school whenever I took it off,” Law said. “It was horrible in the summertime — like being a walking greenhouse.”
While she would still shoot pictures in the brace, her four hours of relief from the brace each day provided her the time to take pictures without any physical restraint.
“Usually, I get down on the ground to do my photography,” Law said. “And with [the brace], I couldn’t get up because I couldn’t bend my back. I would always have to get help getting up. I felt like a turtle on its back in its shell.”
According to Michelle Law, Abby’s mother, when it comes to photography, Abby is fearless. She recalled instances of her daughter getting extremely close to spiders and snakes for the perfect angle.
In February, despite Abby’s diligence wearing the back brace, her scoliosis was determined to have gotten significantly worse, and surgery was needed.
“In order to help her feel like she had ownership over the situation, we decided to have this show so she could walk in the doors and hand them a check,” said Michelle, “and feel like she’s doing something good for somebody else.”
Abby’s show raised $500, which she presented to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children during a pre-surgery appointment.
On May 26, Abby had her spinal surgery, where two rods and 17 screws were placed to correct her lateral spinal curve.
“We will be forever grateful to … Scottish Rite for what they have given Abby,” Michelle said.