Rising Above wants to change the trend of photographing amputees only to evoke inspiration or pity.

Strong ambitious and beautiful Indias first amputee calendar celebrates diversity
Features Photography Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 16:47

What do you get when you put together India's first woman blade runner, a botanist who’s also a model, a professional swimmer, an IT professional and dancer, a badminton player, a biker, an artist, and a hockey player? You get a one-of-a-kind, amazingly spirited calendar.

The 12 young men and women brought together have two things in common – they’re at the top of their professions, and are amputees who haven’t let their disability get in the way of their dreams. And Rising Above, a project by the Mission Smile initiative in Bengaluru, has brought together these strong and beautiful individuals for India's first amputee calendar.  

Mission Smile, an initiative that asks people to pledge their talents, rather than money, for its philanthropic projects, decided to celebrate specially-abled persons through their calendar. 

"Usually, it is only A-list celebrities who are part of glamourous photo-shoots. Nobody has attempted to shoot amputees before," Preeti Rai, co-founder of Mission Smile, says. 

Preeti was excited about the idea of featuring amputees photographed stylishly, but was initially concerned that the project might offend some people. 

And then a few months ago, Preeti met blade-runner Shalini Saraswati during a photo-shoot. Her enthusiasm got a big boost when Shalini told her that amputees were mostly photographed to evoke inspiration or pity but were never shot in glamourous avatars. 

Preeti then reached out to several well-known faces for the calendar shoot, and a crowdfund was started online to get them to Bengaluru. 

Staying true to the initiative, professionals who worked on the photo-shoot, including the photography, editing and make-up teams, did not charge for their services. 

According to Mission Smile, "Rising Above showcases and celebrates the specially-abled people who have battled against all odds and have reached the pinnacle of success by their sheer courage, determination and perseverance. The portraits are a staggering juxtaposition of these guys, showcasing their amputated body parts and prosthetics. We have featured amputees from different parts of India who have excelled in different fields and never let disability hamper their spirit."

Preeti says that besides building awareness, they also hope the calendars can convince sponsors to come forward to support these individuals, some of whom are still struggling financially.

(All photographs courtesy: BeingYou)

Check out all the photographs here.

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