This shoot was a great opportunity to again work with Miami native Jessika Kattah, who we did an exceptional Gym Shoot with previously with photographer Ryan Droze at Neurofit360.
Jessika’s injury was caused by a mass located in her spinal cord, and this was the first time she was able to get into the beach water since her injury. Her incredibly supportive brother came along to not only assist her but to model. He made a perfect model! Her whole family came along for the shoot as they are a very close-knit family that has been a rock and a huge part of her ability to cope and continue her fight to find any improvements she can gain in functioning.
Our own Deborah Davis, a wheelchair user, model, speaker and co-founder of PhotoAbility even got in on the action as she is a Fort Lauderdale resident and was able to be in some shots with Jessika.
The shoot was done on the world famous Fort Lauderdale Strip and the 17th Street Beach entrance that had some good accessibility features such as parking and a ramped entrance and wheelchair accessible play area (which the girls had to try out themselves!) But with the help of Bill Fertig, the owner and inventor of the Sandrider, all-terrain custom Beach Wheelchair, who met us there with a demo for the shoot, we had no issues with getting Jessika as far out to the beach as she wanted!
Interview with Photographer Steven Foster:
What was the biggest challenge of the shoot?
This was my first shoot with PA and the only challenge for me was making sure I captured and gave justice, not only to this project but my model as well. I wanted to make sure my presentation of images showcased the philosophy of PA: “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” Seneca
What do you enjoy most about being able to be a part of this project?
Actually two moments during this project. First...meeting Jessika and her loving family. We met about an hour prior to the actual shoot and along with Deborah, I took advantage of the time by capturing specific images of both, Jessika and Deborah, enjoying the atmosphere of our surroundings. Second...the weather was perfect for the shoot, and once we got to the water, the expression on Jessika’s face was priceless.
What is your hope for how these images could be used to promote a more Inclusive World?
I was able to showcase, not only the product and purpose (The Sandrider Beach Chair) but also share activity in and around a typical vacation destination and lifestyle.
What would you do differently?
For this event? Absolutely nothing. The weather was perfect as were my models and activity.
Any advice or comments you would like to provide to PA, our production team or models?
This type of inclusive disability imagery is an absolute must for all business and facilities. To market themselves as Disability Friendly will not only create a positive environment but also generate new and much-needed revenues through the clients they would normally miss.
Any interesting tidbits/stories about the shoot?
The timing of the water shots was perfect. An outbound cruise ship made the images even more exciting while adding to the story and representing the ambiance of what South Florida can offer as a vacation spot.