Today I’ll tell you about a very special photo project and how this project helped me to gain self-confidence by fully accepting me and my disabled body.
First of all I have to admit, that I’ve had a very bad image of myself. I have never seen myself neither as a “real” woman nor I thought of me being beautiful. My body was my weird-looking capsule, rolling around in a wheelchair. Often I even felt ashamed for my strange movements caused by my limb-girdle muscular dystrophy and for being in a wheelchair. I preferred to hide myself whenever possible to not attract more attention than usual. I had no self-confidence at all and didn’t feel good in my skin. There were times when I silently cried in my bed, asking myself why I was chosen to have this mean LGMD disease. But one day in 2012 would change everything …!
While I was reading a magazine of the German MD Association, my eyes stopped at a text saying “Participants for special photographic project wanted”. I don’t know why, but my inner voice told me to apply immediately. That’s how I got to know the German photographer Andrea Krallinger and her beautiful project “Ganz schön krank” (free trans. “pretty ill”). Andrea, having an invisible disability herself, took pictures of people with all kinds of disorders, focussing on their beauty – not on their faults. The photos of Andrea’s models were art printed are still being exhibited all over Germany and even abroad. Each art print is accompanied by a personal introduction, written by the model, describing briefly her/his life with a disability.
So, together with my brother I met Andrea in August 2012 on a wonderfully warm summer day. But actually, only one day before the appointment I wanted to cancel it! I was scared and I thought that I was not good enough for Andrea’s project. I felt very uncomfortable, I didn’t even have a clue how to dress. I was simply afraid to not fulfill Andrea’s expectations… Luckily my brother insisted on going! And so we did! On our way to the meeting I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat a thing. We met Andrea in a train station. We had a great time together and got along very well – there was no need to be that nervous. Together, we discovered a nice little park where the shooting took place. Thanks to Andrea’s guidance and her reassuring words I overcame my shyness and suddenly I felt good in front of her camera. This was my first shooting-experience. Some days later, when Andrea sent me a link to my pictures, I couldn’t believe that this young, beautiful woman was me. For the very first time I saw my bright smile and my sparkling eyes. And for the very first time I saw my hidden beauty revealed.
Thanks to Andrea’s project, I received lots of mails by interesting people telling me that I had a very positive appearance and a beautiful smile. Thanks to her I made many new friends. Thanks to Andrea I met my love Xavier only two months after the shooting. Thanks to her I had the chance to do a photo shooting for wheelchair manufacturer Sunrise Medical.
Thanks to Andrea and her “Ganz schön krank” project I learned to truly accept myself as I am! There was and is no reason to hide my smile any longer. Today, in 2016, I am a confident and joyful woman on wheels. Thank you so much for everything you did, Andrea!