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Children and adults dealing with disabilites has been a theme of several PhotoSensitive projects. Through a variety of public and private charities, people with disabilities have found help and care, and have been accepted by a larger community. This has been documented in photographs by several PhotoSensitive projects, notably Hand of Hope, Kids Who Can and Inspiring Possibilities, among other photographic exhibitions.
For the project Hand of Hope, V. Tony Hauser captured the exuberance of empowerment as a woman with cerebral palsy manipulated her wheelchair onto an accessibility ramp attached to a public transit van, supported by the "hand of hope," the United Way of Toronto. Image by V. Tony Hauser
From Kids Who Can, Andy Clark's image of Sarah Cheung speeding through camp on her wheelchair captures the empowerment and integration that young handicapped people feel in today's culture. Sarah, the B.C. Easter Seals Ambassador, was born with a Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. That hasn't stopped her from becoming a leader in camp and role modeling for younger campers. Sarah tells young campers that "I'm in a wheelchair but I can still do everything." Image by Andy Clark.
The constraints of trying to capture and facilitate social change and alter people's attitudes toward those with disabilities did not prevent photographers from indulging in some artistry. Here, Patti Gower shows wheelchair-bound young people with care workers and mentors from a United Way supported agency, from Hand of Hope. Photo by Patti Gower.
The blind face a special challenge in dealing with their disability. Images of the blind have been an important part of several projects, Hand of Hope and Braille = Equality. Here, Les Szurkowski's image of a woman reading a large sign in Braille celebrates the work of the United Way in helping the blind, through a variety of public accessibility projects. Image by Les Szurkowski.
Integration and Empowerment of the Disabled
A number of images from several projects show people with disabilities finding new personal power through integration into society. From Inspiring Possibilities, Peter Bregg's starkly backlit image of Yvonne at work as a church greeter was a picture with a long story behind it. Yvonne had spent 33 years in an institution before moving into a Community Living group home. Yvonne has blossomed in her role. Donna Winters, the manager of the home in which she lives, says "She used to be hundreds of miles away from everyone and now she's back in her home community with so much going on. It fills you up, knowing the work you do makes such a difference." Image by Peter Bregg.
Another example is Pawel Dwulit's portrait of David Bromley. David had spent much of his life in an institution before moving into a Community Living home. David suffers from cognitive delays and was de-institutionalized as part of the larger movement toward integration in the 1990's. Here he rides a bike through his neighbourhood and raises his fist in victory. Image by Pawel Dwulit.
In the image below, campers at the Dragonfly Lodge, in Camp Brebeuf, Rockwood, Ontario share a hearty laugh. The image, taken from Inspiring Possibilities captures the joy shared by these disabled people as they participate in camp together. Image by Kaz Ehara.