In late 2015, The Overcast and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (COD-NL) partnered up to build a bank of stock photos that could change the way we think about disabilities.

photo blockAs it stands, stock photos of people with physical and mental health disabilities are not local, do not depict inclusion, and oddly, they often feature models faking depression or paralysis, etc., instead of people actually living with disabilities.

Existing stock photos also tend to be bleak, like a sad-looking child wearing a hearing aid, instead of showcasing vibrant, active citizens carrying out their daily activities from playing sports to grabbing their groceries, or running their business.

There is also a lack of diversity in the disabilities depicted in stock photos: while you can find “man with crutches,” you’d be hard pressed to find “drummer with cerebral palsy.”

So the rules for our contest were clear: a photo had to depict a person carrying out their daily activities in a way that felt empowering, with bonus points given to creative flair and a sense of local flavour. We hope the contest helped to change the way our city thinks about “disabilities” and those in our community living with them. Awareness and education can help us build a more enlightened, inclusive, accessible city for all of us.


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Nathan Gates is one half of “Nate and Nicole Photography,” a stellar duo available for all of your services from weddings and portraits to commercial assignments. “Our goal is to show people things in a way they might not otherwise see, tell stories, and capture emotion and light. Light IS photography” he says.

They certainly succeed in all those endeavours. Visit nateandnicolephoto.com to see their stunning, original work. “Photography is our first love. Nicole and I joined forces three years ago because we knew we could create more unique, cool, and awesome imagery working as a team. We also offer photography classes and have really enjoyed watching students learn and improve tremendously.”

As for Liam’s winning photo in the contest, his subject was basketball player Liam Hickey. “He’s on the Canadian Senior Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team and is presently training for the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games,” Nathan says. “I really wanted to get him in action, being himself and doing his thing. So we headed to the basketball court.”

It is clear from Nathan’s stunning submissions he is not new to the game of photography.
“I have loved studying and taking photos since I was fifteen, and have been a photographer in Newfoundland for over ten years,” he says, having moved here from New York.

“I learned my craft when analog was the only way, waiting under the glow of a dim red light and watching an image materialize on a blank sheet of paper before your eyes was (and still is) pure magic. There is so much to see and photograph, I could never run out of subjects to explore. It’s like a new job every day. My brain cannot stop contemplating the whole wonderful process and all the possibilities.”

Second and Third Place Winners …

Second Place winner: Melissa Pelley. See more of her work at http://melissapelley.wix.com/mpphotography

2nd Place winner: Melissa Pelley. See more of her work at http://melissapelley.wix.com/mpphotography


3rd Place Winner: Sheilagh O’Leary. See more of her work at http://www.sheilagholeary.com

Two Honourable Mentions …

Photo by Brian Carey

Photo by Brian Carey

Photo by Jim Costello

Photo by Jim Costello