It is one year to the day that the Super Power Baby Project book launched; a wonderful day.
Since then the book, and the children in it, have encouraged and given hope to families and communities further afield than those at the launch could have imaged. Just in the past week the project has been profiled in the Huffington Post and AOL, then on sites in Hungary and in Poland. A quick interweb translation shows that while each site has its own unique take on the images and story the common thread is one of beauty and ability.
So, with growing interest in the message of the book, it was absolutely incredible to see the announcement today that the book's author and photographer Rachel Callander has been nominated and is a finalist in the 2015 Attitude Awards for 'Making a Difference' held on December 3 - World Disability Day.
The Attitude Awards website tells us that they were "First held in 2008, the Attitude Awards are national awards that celebrate the achievements of people who live with disability. The aim of the event is to shine a spotlight on the disability sector, and draw attention to the one in four New Zealanders who live with disability. The awards salute artists, sportsmen and women, people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues, young and old. We also pay tribute to the employers who work alongside people with disabilities to ensure they are able to contribute their skills to society and live full and satisfying lives." - which we think is just brilliant.
Article by Taylor Pittman, first published to Huffington Post
Every superhero has a power. Rachel Callander’s daughter, Evie, had many.
Evie, who was born with a rare chromosomal condition that caused developmental delays and left her unable to walk or talk, died when she was 2-and-a-half years old. Callander and her husband, Sam, called their daughter's unique response to particular environments a super power. It was as if her daughter experienced things differently, Callander explained.
"She would cry when she went through electric sliding doors or when we drove on roads where there were large electrical pylons," she wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. "It was as if she had an electromagnetic sensitivity that was unique to her."
From her incredible strength to the way she "expressed happiness with her whole body," the list of Evie’s powers goes on. Her special abilities motivated Callander, a photographer in New Zealand, to share the powers of other kids who have disabilities with the rest of the world. And so "Super Power Baby Project" was born.
"Super Power Baby Project" is a book featuring photos of kids with various chromosomal and genetic conditions. Each child has his or her own special ability.
"The kids in the book have super powers such as possessing emotional intelligence, being able to read people, incredible empathy, unconditional love, perseverance, kindness, joy, magnetism, being ambassadors of peace and having a ripple of influence that change people for the better," Callander said.
The book serves as a tribute to Evie. Callander traveled across New Zealand meeting the families and taking photos of the children featured in the book. She captured their distinct personalities by building trust with them and letting them truly be themselves.
"Their joy and happiness at being in the world shines through the images," she said. "I loved focusing on their faces, to capture their personalities as they did the things they love."
The book of photos, which can be ordered on the "Super Power Baby Project" site, is just the beginning for Callander. She has been asked to discuss her photos and the message behind them with medical professionals and people who care for children with disabilities internationally. She also hopes to make another book so she can continue the celebration of these unique super powers.
See the full article and more images on Huffington Post
On the home page of NBC News' popular Today.com sits an article about the Super Power Baby Project packed with the stunning images of children from the book that challenge some of society's preconceived ideas. Take a look.
We are thrilled that the message of the project came through in the article with phrases like this: "Diversity isn't a deficit within the person, it's a deficit in our culture that doesn't celebrate or encourage humanity no matter what it looks like," she said. "That was something that struck me when I met these beautiful children, that they were full of life, and potential and abilities, and they were changing their families every day. It was a magnificent honor to meet them all, and I think society misses out on these interactions with children because I think we're afraid of what's different. It doesn't need to be that way." Read the full article
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