"The world needs to understand that beauty isn't defined by someone's circumstances. Beauty is within. Beauty is measured in a million different ways. I am beautiful. YOU are beautiful!"
-Carli Lynne Hamilton
Too often we in life are judged by others, with our differences being seen as failures or disadvantages. From weight, to intelligence, to disabilities, to language barriers, we are constantly fighting to be viewed for what we are. Talented. Kind. Inspiring. Motivating. Dedicated. Smart. Honest. Trustworthy. Loyal. Loving. Caring. So much more than what we are dwindled down to in society's critical microscope. I wanted to be a part of this shoot because I wanted to be a part of making this woman feel beautiful, and of celebrating her beauty BECAUSE of her differences and not in spite of them.
As I started planning the design for the piece for the shoot, I realized how little I knew about a wheelchair. I contemplated how I wanted the experience to be for the model, and how I wanted her to feel at the shoot. As she looked out onto the shimmering distance of the stunning salt flats, I envisioned her feeling the warmth of the sun on her skin. As her husband nuzzled her face with the sun setting in the distance, I wanted her to feel loved and beautiful. I did NOT want to hinder her mobility with a large, clunky design, or to mar an experience meant to celebrate her beauty by making it difficult for her to achieve the vision she wanted.
The final images take my breath away. They show a woman completely happy with who she is, and a man who fiercely loves his wife. The stark, unique landscape of the Utah salt flats trimmed with the mountains in the horizon and the beautiful cloud filled sky are the perfect setting to highlight raw, unfiltered happiness and emotion. I'm grateful to have been a part of capturing life as art.