Over the years I have photographed a number of children with special needs and have found them to be among the most beautiful, loving and happy children I have ever met. I have often wondered why these children are not celebrated more through photography, why do images often capture the struggles rather than the triumph? Why do photographers ignore their unique personality and focus instead on their disability? More worrying are the statements from parents; "I was so worried about having portraits taken because of our child's needs, so we never organised anything".

Over the past few months as disabilities and labels affect more and more of our family and friends and my understanding of not only the daily struggles but also the social stigma has grown I felt compelled to do something. Not only to help these families capture beautiful images of their child but also help us as a society learn about these children and celebrate their smile.

I am not sure where this project will take me but I am excited to meet new families and share their stories. I hope it helps change the way our society accepts and celebrates these children, even in just the smallest way, one photograph at a time.

Through the 'Beautiful You' project Aimee provides free portrait sessions and images for children with special needs. For more information on how to participate in this project please email aimee@aimeecook.com.au

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