"Enabled" by Ian Ruhter
Words by Jill Webster
Aaron Fotheringham, 17, knows just what it feels like to slowly lose the ability to walk - a concept that could terrify most people. He was born with Spinal Bifida, a developmental birth defect that translates literally to "split spine." Aaron agrees that having the disease is painful. One of his hips is permanently out of the socket, causing constant pain, and forcing Aaron off of crutches and into a wheelchair. After tagging along when his brother would skateboard at the skate park, his brother suggested he try tricks in his wheelchair. "I don't feel it [my hip] when I'm at the skate park," he says. "My adrenaline is up and it's just my release." Aaron holds the world record for the first back flip in a wheelchair as of October 2008, an experience he calls nerve wracking, even though he completed his first back flip two years before that in 2006 and had done it several times since. He is sponsored by Schwalbe Tires, Fox Shocks and Osiris Shoes to name a few. He hopes to do a double back flip in the future and wants to inspire others, both disabled and able-bodied alike to get out of their homes and do something with their lives. "I want it to become common - people in wheelchairs doing flips. I'm not disabled. Being in a wheelchair isn't being disabled. I think that everyone else is disabled - you know, they have to actually walk."
Enabled is a project about disabled action sports athletes who step beyond their perceived limitations, to show us how being "disabled" is a state of mind. The goal is to reach out to both disabled and able-bodied individuals, including those who have an interest in photography and action sports. These stories will positively impact, and deliver encouragement to the disabled community as a whole. The project will be broken down into a documentary, traveling art show, book, and television episode
We are currently pursuing funding to complete, and produce the final outcome of "Enabled." If you are an art director, producer, TV network, magazine, company, etc., and are interested in learning more about the "Enabled" project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . The above photos have been cropped for preview. To see the complete collection of photos please request a link to the online portfolio.