You know you’ve made it when you are approached for projects that make a difference as well as being high profile. First it was the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Calendar 2012 which is an enormous privilege to be a part of and is already in full swing.
Today, I added to that list as I am very excited to be able to announce that I will be assisting Rei Bennett Photography with several photoshoots that form part of her ‘Beauty Through Damage’ project.
Rei has been working on this project for some time now, photographing individuals who for one reason or another have become disabled. You can read her blog here which catalogues some of these photoshoots and the inspiring individuals behind them.
The interest in Rei’s project has been overwhelming to say the least but I wasn’t expecting to get an approach to assist with three shoots for some very courageous and high profile female models who have made a name for themselves and highlighted just some of the many issues surrounding disability in the media.
Kelly Knox, who was born missing her left forearm, was a contestant on, and the winner of, the 2008 BBC series ‘Britain’s Missing Top Model‘ which earned her a photoshoot with top fashion photographer, Rankin and a feature in Marie Claire magazine. She was also offered a modelling contract with Take 2 Model Management Agency in London.
Shannon Murray is an actress, broadcaster, writer and trainee lawyer and also a paraplegic as the result of an accident as a teenager. She began modelling in 1994 when she won the UK’s first ever modelling competition for disabled people “Model in a Million”. In 2010 she appeared in Channel 4’s “How to Look Good Naked…with a Difference”, and has appeared in a number of advertising campaigns for high profile companies including Debenhams.
Debbie Van Der Putten was already a successful model when she lost her arm in a bus crash at the age of 19. Since that time she has built on this success and used it as a way of putting forward a different message. She was also a contestant on ‘Britain’s Missing Top Model’ and still continues to be highly successful raising the profile of disability in the media.
Rei’s interest in this subject comes from personal experience, and her passion for it is evident in her work to date. I come to it as an outsider to issues surrounding disability but as an experienced stylist always looking to put my skills to better use in other areas. Such causes are an honour to be a part of.