Documentary and Portrait Photographer Leia Ankers is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project The Same As You. To see Leia’s body of work, click on any image.
The same as you began from having a disability myself. Since a young age I have stigmatised myself through my differences. I wanted to change the notion of people with dual sensory impairment and additional disabilities.
It became apparent over time, that everyday objects and environments are very important. We use our senses all the time but most of that is by default and not conscious awareness. Most of the time we take our senses for granted. In this series, I aim to represent the perception of disability.
Cordelia is blind in one eye with limited site in her other eye, deaf and has cerebral palsy. Cordelia ability to move anywhere herself and connect with others is important to her, if she is interested, she uses self-initiative to wheel herself in her wheelchair to where she wants. Cordelia independence is easiest achieved in water as she can move alone without the support of her wheelchair or carers. Cordelia admires the sensory experience of water being poured onto her hands and intensely watches it full between her fingers. The hydro pool is Cordelia place of freedom, it portrays her personality and allows her to be seen how she wants to be.
I met Michelle through a friend of my mothers and Michelle’s family member kindly gave me consent for Michelle to be a part of the project, I spent around 6 months with Michelle. Music is one of Michelle’s favourite things as her hearing is how Michelle interacts and experiences things, due to Michelle being blind. Michelle was born in the Rubella era. Michelle was one of the many babies who was born without eyes or ears, accompanied by many other malformations. Michelle had pioneering operations to restore some hearing and make some form of ears.
I wanted the photograph to take place where Michelle’s place of belonging is, in hope to express her story and voice. The portrait took place in her bedroom with her record player. To set up her record player Michelle first touches her drawers for support and then raises her other arm to feel where the record player is. Then to ensure the record player is plugged in, Michelle always plugs it in the second socket of her socket adapter. Then to find the vinyl Michelle wants, Michelle feels the circle sticker on the vinyl and recognises it through the texture.
All images and text © Leia Ankers
By Leia Ankers
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