Nikon D800 35mm f1.4 Lens
“I have wondered what it would be like to have more than one child, if I need to hold them both tight at the same time,” James said as he laughed casually. 9 years ago, James lost his arm and leg in an accident. Ashley is a congenital amputee. Which means that she was born with the lower part of her right arm missing. “I didn’t want to have children because I thought I wouldn't be able to hold her. How will I support her head while feeding? How will I tie her shoe laces? Or change her clothes… but it all worked itself out. Elara realises that mummy and daddy just have to do things differently. So she works with us on solutions.” “You know how it is… with being limb different… you just have to be persistent.” Ashley is a successful model and an advocate for families that have a limb different member. Since his accident, James has worked with Japanese gaming giant Konami to personally design and develop his own advanced bionic arm – earning himself the nickname Metal Gear Man. Since then, he's become a speaker, BBC presenter and model. They have the most beautiful 2-year-old daughter Elara, who truly is a ray of sunshine. Their Photoshoot was the very first in my series #changingtheconversation and it was disturbing to realise, how myopic my own horizons of understanding humanity were when I interacted with them. I kept telling them they inspire me. I kept saying that I feel like my life’s woes are nothing in front of theirs and yet they celebrate life more than I ever would. In essence I was using them to alleviate my own life’s misgivings which is just such a questionable way of drawing inspiration from anyone. In the end… what I learnt from this session and interaction is that to truly be able to change the conversation and expand humanity… we must normalise!!! So what do you see here? I see a beautiful family!
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