"Enabled" by Ian Ruhter
Words by Jill Webster
"It seemed like there was some weird energy in the air. I couldn't' really place it," says Evan Strong, 22, as he starts to talk about the day of his accident. At 17, while Evan still lived in Maui with his family, he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and had to have his left leg amputated just below the knee. While he was lying on the ground, waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Evan describes an almost "out of body" experience. His practice of Shrop Shot Yoga and meditation, which he has been doing since he was four, is what he believes kept him from going into shock. Evan says his old self died on the road that day and left him with a completely new outlook. The recovery process left him in what he describes as an "infant-like" state - having to be fed, helped to go to the bathroom, and dependant on others for nearly everything. Evan hopes to show others how to walk a path to a more fulfilling life, to be able to show somebody peace within themselves. Before the accident, he was extremely active - played sports, did skateboarding, mountain bike riding, etc. - life, to him, was all about being the best and wanting more. Now, Evan says, it has shifted into being able to help and support people. He works with Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization, which sponsors clinics where Evan is able to teach disabled kids and adults how to mountain bike, skateboard, and hopefully in the future, to rock climb. "I want to see people break out of the shell of what they thought their limitations were."
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 these 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, book, traveling art show, 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 a preview. To see the complete collection of photos please request a link to the online portfolio.