Using photography, Anna Neubauer beautifully challenges the under-representation of young people with disabilities and visible differences

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Throughout Anna’s works, as they show such a variety of situations, people and places, she manages to create a warm, sensitive and peaceful atmosphere throughout her work. Explaining how she creates such an atmosphere, Anna tells us that lighting is key. “I love working with natural light which I think is usually a bit warmer. Also, in the editing process, I usually opt for warmer colors as opposed to cool colors. She is also keen to always try to bring a vintage and old-fashioned touch to her work; “I love the cinematic, retro side of an image,” she shares. But perhaps his greatest tool is his personality and his learning to read his subjects. “One thing I had to learn is that sometimes what I think are the smallest details can be very important to a model and can disrupt them. I want the people I shoot with to be themselves. and feel comfortable and natural in the shoot. Now, focusing heavily on knowing who she’s working with and breaking the ice is a big step for the photographer.” Finding out what drives them and what makes them laughing both helps us open up and adds emotion to photos.”

This approach is one that has particularly helped Anna throughout a project with Harper’s Bazaar Brazil, one of his recent favorites. The young boy presented in the series, Ryan, Anna explains having Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic disease. But, focusing on creating a carefree, nostalgic look at childhood, Anna tells us that “I wanted to make sure I showed the person, not the condition.” Starring Ryan alongside two friends, Valeria and Isla, the project primarily depicts their “beautiful friendship”. “I think what I like the most is that the images reflect a kind of neglect. The editorial really reminds me of my own childhood and how lucky I am to have grown up in such a safe place. Aiming to make the photos as spontaneous and candid as possible, Anna bought things for the children to play with, and when she started to get inventive with her tools – using the translucent lid of a jar of marbles to take pictures – the kids were instantly intrigued, wanting to see how it changed the pictures. “We all had so much fun,” adds Anna, summarizing, “If everyone sees a human, or in this case a boy like Ryan, they will see someone who is incredibly loving, kind, funny, and smart. With more photos like these, hopefully we can start to change the portrayal.

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