Get seven amputees together on a gloomy day in Atlanta and what do you get? A ton of jaw dropping stories, endless amounts of inspiration, a whole lot of laughter and all of it captured in insanely incredible photos.
I know a few amputees in the Atlanta area where I live, but I had no idea I’d get the interest I did when I posted an ad on Instagram and Facebook looking for amputees in the area. While not everyone was available on the day of the photo shoot, it was great to see the amount of feedback for people interested in participating, after all, we’re not all comfortable with our differences. We had a couple of courageous military men, both losing their legs while fighting for our country, two women with upper extremity limb differences from birth, a woman with missing arms and legs below the knee due to an illness, a woman who lost her leg in a car accident, and me, a below the knee amputee after being born with pseudarthrosis of the tibia.
I had been wanting to do a photo shoot for quite some time, and after completing this one I know it won’t be the last. I wanted to capture some of our best selling items in a fashionable way, giving people ideas on how to layer for fall while also releasing some of our new items and colors. While this could have been done in a standard indoor setting with perfect lighting and green screens, it wouldn’t be like the people in the picture, overcoming obstacles on a daily basis. So why not go somewhere rugged with uneven land and unmarked holes in the ground? It sounded perfect, and you can see from the photos, it was.
I’m already putting together ideas for my next shoot, likely next year just in time for spring. I’d really like to push that one to the max when it comes to self confidence and body image. Inclusion has become a rather popular topic in the past couple of years with more amputees and others with disabilities showing up in ads and on runways, in addition to plus sized models (shout out to my inspiration, Ashley Graham) and transgender people. There is space for all of us to motivate and inspire and I hope ampuTeez™ and this photo shoot accomplishes just that.
Photos taken by Emef Griffin