19 people with limb differences have been featured in a beautiful photo shoot in a bid to promote diversity and body confidence.
The models, from Zebedee Management, an inclusive modelling agency are aged from two to 54, and have either been born with a limb difference or had an amputation.
The images are a celebration of their self-love and their body acceptance.
There are around 30 million amputees in the world and more than 100,000 in the UK alone. 5,000 amputations are performed in the UK every year, and yet there is so little visibility of limb difference.
Each model has a story to tell, some acquired their limb difference through illnesses such as cancer, meningitis and diabetes – whereas others were in accidents.
They are all passionate about positive representation matters in the arts, fashion and in the media – they want to see more people who look like they do.
‘Losing my arm and shoulder has been unequivocally the best thing that’s happened to me,’ says Dan.
‘It’s important to raise awareness to limb differences as it’s only once you lose the use of a limb through, in my case, traumatic amputation, that you realise the importance and significance of just how much you rely on even a finger or a thumb!’
‘I wasn’t born with one leg. I became an amputee aged 30 following an accident,’ says Nancy.
‘Becoming an amputee was extremely hard at first back in the 1990’s because different meant “outsider”, “not normal”, “weirdo”.
‘People stared at me with shocked, judgemental expressions and would wonder how I could possibly get on with life, let alone have children.
‘Raising awareness and increasing representation is so important to challenge misconceptions. We never know what life is going to throw at us. Life-changing injuries are exactly that, but it doesn’t mean that your life is over.
‘Life in the 21st century is better for people with differences. I want to show society that I have a positive outlook and self determination to be happy.
‘I have two healthy children with two legs each and feel no less of a person with only one leg.’
‘The world is generally focused on creating the “perfect” image while others try desperately to fit into that category. While others fight for that, I strive to be individual – to be myself,’ says Jamie.
‘By raising awareness about limb loss and limb differences, it allows others to really embrace difference and find beauty within it.
‘Difference is beautiful and our differences allow us to educate and empower others who may also be experiencing a difference.’
‘I suffered from people calling me a one-armed freak, not playing with me on the playground, and even a guy telling me that he would date me if I had another arm,’ says Ashley.
‘It was really hard trying to fit in but its even harder when you’re physically different. That’s why to me its so important to have limb difference awareness month and representation in the media.’
‘I am 26 years old and I was diagnosed with bone cancer located in my right femur in July 2016, two months after my son was born,’ explains Grace.
‘After two cycles of chemotherapy, Doctors saw that the treatment was not proving as effective as hoped so, in November that year, I had to make the decision to have my leg amputated to decrease the chances of it coming back. I have used a prosthesis since April 2017.’
‘We found out at my 20 week scan that Neisha was missing her lower right leg,’ says Neisha’s mum.
‘She was a very poorly little girl.
‘Last year she started attending Hartlepool Hawks Cheerleading Academy. Since then her confidence has grown in leaps and bounds (excuse the pun).
‘She is determined to show that having a disability doesn’t have to stop you achieving your dreams. At every competition someone has approached her to tell her how inspirational she is yet to her she’s just doing the same as everyone else who is there.’