While taking on any type of creative project can seem quite daunting, when inspired by a cause that hits close to the heart, the results are nothing short of extraordinary. Today, we take a look at eight photo projects that were created with different intentions but all ended up inspiring others. From Bob Carey’s funny Tutu Project that took on a meaningful life of its own to Rachel Hulin’s flying baby series that will soon become a book, these eight projects were chosen for their incredibly touching stories, their sheer creativity and for one all encompassing reason. In all cases, they’re guaranteed to inspire you to go forth and create.
1. The Tutu Project
Back in 2003, when Bob Carey first decided to photograph himself wearing a pink tutu, he could never have guessed where it would take him. The funny self-portrait was a way for Bob to express his daunting move to the East Coast and all the mixed emotions that came with it. Six months into the move, Linda, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After beating it, the cancer reoccurred three years later. It’s been nine years since the start of the incredibly hard journey, and during that time, Bob has paid tribute to his wife by creating the Tutu Project. This autumn, he will self-publish Ballerina, the book and the net proceeds from the sale will go directly to breast cancer organizations.
2. Superhero Grandmother (Mamika)
When French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother feeling depressed, to cheer her up, he decided that he would dress her up as a superhero. As a survivor of World War II, she was already a hero in her own life, having courageously saved the lives of ten Jewish people by hiding them from the Nazis. Goldberger dressed his grandmother up in an awesome superhero costume – complete with a helmet and a cape – and had her pose in various locations. The resulting series, called Mamika (or grandma in Hungarian) became a viral hit online as the story conveyed a message of hope and joy.
3. Drawing Hope
After wondering what he could do to make a difference in people’s lives, photographer Shawn Van Daele of Renaissance Studios started the The Drawing Hope Project, where he takes drawings created by young children born or living with health conditions and turns them into incredibly magical photographs. Described as a a “real-life storybook,” the project aims to show how kids can handle hardships thrown at them with grace and strength and that we must all appreciate the life we were given. As Van Daele says, “This project is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done; using the talents you’ve been given to put ‘good’ out into the world while doing something you love…it doesn’t get any better than that.”
4. Dancers Among Us
Dancers Among Us is a wonderful photo project by Jordan Matter that celebrates life. Started back in 2009, it consists of joyous images of professional dancers set against everyday backgrounds, jumping, spinning, lifting, and kicking their way through life. Matter was inspired to start this project after watching his young son playing with his toy bus. With a goal of creating photos that showed the world through a child’s eyes, Dancers Among Us was born. The photos show people living in the moment, celebrating all aspects of their life. Recently, Dancers Among Us became a book and it quickly landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list.