When I see inclusivity in the media, ads with disabled individuals being represented for something other than an adaptive product, I fantasize about being the one who created those images. Seriously, I do!
If you saw my last blog post, you might recall that I was preparing for a headshot clinic campaign called See Me in 2023, sponsored by Changing the Face of Beauty and HumanKind Casting + Talent. Their goal: to increase visibility and inclusivity in the media for individuals with disabilities. This area of photography has truly been a dream of mine. Representation Matters.
So, I pulled in a couple of colleagues because I knew we would all have something unique to contribute to a workshop to help other photographers be prepared for disabled clients. Missy is an OT and she works in Early Intervention, primarily with autistic children. Betty, like me, is a special needs mom.
Planning an Inclusive Photography Workshop
We met in advance to plan our strategy, and we created a beautiful slideshow and presentation that ROCKED! Missy talked all about the sensory issues that a child might have that would interfere with a smooth photo session, like what they are wearing or how they are being posed. Betty talked about lighting and lenses that she finds work best when photographing individuals with special needs. And I shared some tips on how to be prepared, as a photographer, when you have a client who is disabled. Pro Tip: Communication, Patience, and Flexibility are key.
Our colleagues were impressed and thrilled to learn from us…maybe we should take this on the road!
After the presentation, we were released to the masses…of models!
Boys, girls, children, teens, men, and women, all with a variety of abilities and disabilities. They started in the hair and make-up room, and then made their entrances into the studios. They walked, ran, strolled, and rolled into the open rooms one by one, in pairs, and groups. A handful of young ladies were already friends from their participation in a local Down Syndrome organization, and their energy and excitement to do this together motivated all of us even more.
So much activity- models, photographers, coordinators, stylists, parents, even Press from the Boston Globe. A little chaotic at first, as you can well imagine, but we all got into a rhythm…
…and the magic started to happen!
All of the participants got numerous headshots and portfolio images from several photographers. The best images will be collected to create a portfolio for each of them.
Inclusivity in the Media
Those gorgeous portfolios will be added to HumanKind Casting + Talent’s collection of images to share with companies that are developing inclusive media campaigns. INCLUSIVE MEDIA CAMPAIGNS. One day, seeing a disabled individual in a commercial or a magazine or on a billboard will be the norm. One day, I might even see a young boy (like mine) with a tracheostomy tube in his throat, sitting in a wheelchair, screeching with delight at being in the spotlight, as he models a cool pair of sneaks or an awesome school backpack.
That is what Changing the Face of Beauty- See Me in 2023 and HumanKind Casting + Talent are all about.
I was so incredibly honored to be a part of this, and I cannot wait to do this again!!
And check out the article from the Boston Globe!