Home Leading PHOTOS: Mental Health and a Day at the Museum

PHOTOS: Mental Health and a Day at the Museum


I was intrigued by the opportunity to photograph Andria Amador, the senior director of behavioral health services for the Boston school system at the Museum of Science for two reasons: first, because any trip to the Museum of Science is a reason to celebrate, and second, because I was eager to learn more about the state of mental health resources in schools around my city.

I was tasked with getting portraits of Amador and with photographing her throughout the afternoon while she staffed a table at a mental health community event called Building Balance—one of many community events that the Museum of Science has hosted over the last couple of years. After getting cleared by the museum’s marketing team, Amador and I wandered around the first two floors—through exhibits ranging from one on the water quality of the Charles River to another featuring taxidermy of animals that live in the area—looking for natural light and quieter spots where she could stand for a portrait.

On a busy Saturday at the museum, I had to pay extra attention to children running through the background of the frames, but soon enough we were able to make our way to the second floor so Amador could join her colleague Sam De Armas, a school psychologist at the Curley K-8 School, at their table.

Activities at the table included a game where children matched emotion cards, as well as classics like Jenga and Monkeys in a Barrel. They proved to be very popular.

Though Amador’s days working as a counselor one-on-one with children are in the past, you wouldn’t know it. As families filtered past her table—mostly young parents with elementary school-aged children—Amador patiently engaged with all of them.

It was heartwarming to watch, but I was quickly presented with my second challenge, which was making a variety of images with Amador in one place behind the table. I spent a while experimenting with making photos through a window behind her station that allowed for more interesting compositions. And in the end, I was happy to catch genuine moments as she entertained children and their parents.

Andria Amador, Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services for Boston Public Schools, leads a child in a game of matching emotion cards while hosting a table at Building Balance, a mental health event at the Museum of Science in Boston, Mass., on January 21, 2023.

— Sophie Park for Education Week

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