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Raw Beauty Project NYC: A Photo Exhibition That Celebrates Women With Disabilities

By Hanssie on October 12th 2014

What is beautiful?

We photographers can see beauty in pretty much anything. Our eyes are trained to notice the beauty that surrounds us, whether in the extraordinary or the mundane. The ladies in this photography project are anything but mundane or ordinary. Raw Beauty NYC is an “innovative visual arts project designed to inspire the public to create new perceptions, transform stereotypes and breakthrough personal obstacles by expanding awareness of women with physical challenges.”



Katherine Crawford photographed by Daryl Henderson

Raw Beauty NYC is a collaboration between the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and and features 20 women with a variety of disabilities photographed by one of ten photographers for an exhibit to showcase their sensuality and empowerment. The ladies share their stories in both word and images and their beauty and strength shine through.

Quadriplegic Wendy Crawford, one of the women featured in this project, was an up and coming fashion model on her way to her first international assignment when she was hit by a drunk driver. Now, 30 years later, Wendy is again in front of the camera, this time with her wheelchair. She hopes to empower other women with disabilities to gain more confidence and show that women with disabilities can still be sexy and gorgeous.

Last month, the photos were on display at a gallery in Manhattan and sold to benefit the Reeve Foundation

Watch the video below and check out the Raw Beauty Project NYC website to read the stories of these 20 stunning and inspirational women and see the images on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation website.

[Via Jezebel]


Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at and Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mircea Blanaru

    An excellent project!!! Only nice thoughts to the good at heart photographers!!!!

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  2. Jeff Lopez

    So awesome and inspiring

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  3. Uday Arunachalam

    Amazing project with a strong message…thank you

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  4. Ian Moss

    (two forms OR types)

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  5. Ian Moss

    Sometimes it’s so much more than producing pretty pictures. Sometimes the story, the narrative, defines the project and moves it into a different league. This is a truly inspiring project.

    When I teach portraiture, I make the distinction between two forms of types of portrait photographer, the novelist and the biographer. The novelist seeks to create something new from the materials at hand and the finished work often tells us little or nothing about the model. The biographer, on the other hand, attempts to tell the story of the sitter through the medium of photography.

    This project is in the latter category and far, far stronger because of it.

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