Two years ago, Aaron Sheldon was riding the city bus in Ohio with his son, Harrison, when the little boy unknowingly taught him a valuable lesson.
“We were at our stop, and I was like, ‘Okay, come on, we gotta go,'” Sheldon said. “I’m thinking [of] the three things we have to do after getting off the bus, and he’s not moving. He’s not acknowledging me at all. He is just exploring every little bit of that experience.”
Sheldon’s son’s perfectly normal little-kid intrigue made him stop for a minute and say, “Why am I in such a hurry to do all these other things?”
Sheldon is a photographer. He teaches classes, picks up gigs around town and, like so many of us, takes advantage of every creative opportunity he can.
The one thing that always bugged Sheldon was that he couldn’t take his pleading young son with him to his shoots. So, like any creative thinker, he came up with a way to change that.
“I always thought, I want to do some kind of project with him that’s not just portraits of my son,” Sheldon said.
All of this came at a time when young Harrison, now 5 years old, had taken an liking to astronauts and often wore a space helmet his parents bought from their local science center.
Sheldon combined his passion for photography with Harrison’s endless sense for adventure, curiosity — and space — and thus, Small Steps Are Giant Leaps was born.
The Sheldons travel near and far to capture their little astronaut in settings both everyday and iconic. But whether at the aquarium, on the set of NPR’s “Tiny Desk,” or at a practice with Ohio’s BalletMet, Sheldon and his wife always put Harrison’s sense of adventure at the forefront.
“We only take him places where it’s actually an adventure for him, where he’s getting something out of it,” Sheldon said. “Basically, we just want to remind people that our everyday world is full of opportunities to have adventures and to explore.”
The Sheldon family is currently on a mini exploration of major East Coast cities like Washington, D.C., and New York City.