How Kuba Wieczorek's photography challenges perceptions of disability

How Kuba Wieczorek's photography challenges perceptions of disability

Photographer Kuba Wieczorek gave up his time for free to shoot the launch campaign for World's Strongest Boys, a brand created by WCRS for Duchenne UK.

The campaign celebrates the inner strength of young people who live with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease.

It asks people to upload videos of themselves performing feats of physical strength and then ends with the message: "Think that’s strong? Check out the World’s Strongest Boys."

Wieczorek also worked on "Meet the superhumans" for Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics four years ago.

Tell us about the project

World’s Strongest Boys is a new awareness and fundraising brand built around the belief that boys living with Duchenne are anything but weak. Their inner strength outweighs their physical limitation.

That thought alone is super-empowering for the Duchenne community, but it’s also a platform for the mainstream to get involved through the "brand behaviour" that World’s Strongest Boys brings with it – asking people to use their muscles to help boys losing theirs.

How does it differ from other charity campaigns?

WCRS’s work has turned a community of boys without a voice into superheroes. I love the positivity. And it’s all geared towards being sustainable for the long term. It’s dynamic in how it allows people to get behind the cause and then become brand advocates.

Do you have to adapt the photography process when featuring people with a disability? I spent a long time interacting with the boys on set before even picking up my camera.

The boys were brilliant. I would say easier to photograph than normal. They were funny, up for it, natural – genuinely an inspiration to have them on set.

What do you think is holding the ad industry back from featuring more disabled people in ads, and how can it change that?

Fear is holding the industry back. I genuinely think brands are still scared to use anyone that is less than "perfect" in their advertising.

There is still a lot of work to be done to change how the advertising industry in particular uses disabled people – but campaigns like Channel 4’s "superhumans" is doing so much to simply make disability cool.

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