Throughout history, disabled people have been represented negatively, often as flawed versions of able-bodied people instead of individuals with their own identities. In Bloom recognises and celebrates disabled individuals as a valuable part of our society because disability impacts all of us. To make these photographs, the artist Jade LA Fisher invests time in deeply understanding her models, forming genuine connections to portray them authentically. Her work reclaims power and captures a moment in time, while emphasising on the ethical responsibility of a socially engaged photographer.

Bryony Moss

What aspects of your disability do you feel comfortable sharing with us today?
So, I have a disability called cerebral palsy right hemiplegia, I also have a learning disability and mental health conditions. When people look at me, they might not be able to tell that I’m disabled, especially my mental health conditions as I have non epileptic seizures.


What changes or improvements would you like to see in the fashion and modelling industry to make it more inclusive for disabled people?
As everyone see more brands working with disabled models but all different types of this but it says so they could be hidden disabilities, visible disabilities, different ethnicities, different genders. And yeah, I think that the fashion industry needs to create an atmosphere to show people that their individuality can be celebrated.


I love to know more about your journey into the modern industry as a disabled person, what inspires you to model?
So, I got into modelling because I didn’t see people like me represented, in the media, on TV, in magazines and I thought I could be part of positive change so that other young people, children could see people like them.


Yeah definitely. So, what are some of the challenges or happy moments that keep you going?
Well for one of my biggest challenges is I have to have a support worker with me for my jobs as I can have seizures and sometimes budgets don’t cover that kind of costs and that’s probably one of the main ones I struggle with the most.


What are some of your happy moments? 
Its doing things like this with Jade, being with other creative people. Positive environments, you get to learn about other people’s stories, you don’t feel that you’re alone and you just get to be in a really positive and nurturing environments. 

What aspects of your disability do feel comfortable sharing with us today?

I feel comfortable telling you everything about my disability, I am deaf, I was born deaf, and I have two hearings aids and I recently had a cochlear implant and so now I am cochlear implant user as well as a hearing aid user.


In what ways does your disability influence your daily routine?

My disability influences my daily routine from the minute I wake up. So, I have to take my hearing aids out when I go to sleep, and I therefore cannot hear anything. the minute I wake up, I have to kind of adjust to waking up and allow my body to, you know, wake up.

Then five ten minutes later, I then put my cochlear implant and my hearing aid in, and it can be quite overwhelming, especially if I’m tired, or if its loud in the house or whatever. And then on to my day-to-day life where I’m working and when I’m mee4ting new people I have to lipread and lipreading new people and trying to understand what they’re saying. I then get fatigued and tired, especially if it’s loud environment. I then have to try and listen to one person that I’m trying to have a conversation with.

Again, hearing on the phone, like doctors’ appointments or anything, I can’t really hear on the phone, so I find that very hard, So I then try and do emailing and stuff like that but again, a lot of places don’t have accessible need to email and stuff.

So, there is a lot of daily ways that it affects me. Even driving in the car like I can’t hear my car engine. I can’t hear any other car. So again, if I’m walking or driving. I have to be more aware on a very visual person. I’m so visual that it makes me really tired at the end of the day. 


What changes or improvements would you like to see in fashion and modelling industry to make it more inclusive for disabled people?

The improvements that I would like to make in the modelling industry is that when I do meet a photographer or the production team, I do need to be able to lip read everyone and being able to have that communication from the start. I think most photographers do forget that when they have the camera in front of their face, it automatically covers their lips, and I cannot lip read them.

When they are giving me direction. I then struggle to get the direction because I can’t lipread them. I do also find within the modelling industry there have been cases where the company or brand, they want to be able to tick the box that they someone who is disabled without actually having the support or supporting the person who is disabled. 

A massive thank you for Jade for producing these photos, but at the end of day, I want to thank you to you guys for taking the time to listen and understand my disability and I hope guys have learnt something new. There are websites online that you can educate yourself if needed.

Imy Harris

What aspects of your disability do you feel comfortable sharing with us today?

I have a condition called fibromyalgia, there’s a lot of stigma about it, mainly cause people don’t know a lot about it, but it’s like a collection of 30 symptoms that you experience sometimes, often simultaneously. So, for me, it affects me the most in my back and legs, so my legs collapse beneath me. So, my mobility is affected. I have cluster headaches, I’m sensitive to light, often sound. It often crosses over with neurodiversity as well, It’s unpredictable. I think that’s the hardest thing I find about it. I don’t know which day I’m going to wake up and be OK, or sometimes I can’t sleep because of painful muscle spasms. It’s a 24/7 thing. There’s not a time I’m not in pain.


What are some of the misconceptions or stereotypes about usability and modelling that you like to challenge or dispel?

I think I’d look someone that doesn’t have a disability. As mine is invisible. So they would think you don’t look sick is one of the main stereotypes or I saw you out last week but they don’t think like that maybe one Instagram post was one drink I had and then I went home. I think it’s really important that different types of disabilities are represented. Everyone in general is having a silent battle, but there are these kinds of extra layers. I’m in pain 24/7 that might not come across because I’m used to hiding it now.


How is it for you navigating the world with racism and ableism?

I think being disabled black woman, especially when that doesn’t necessarily look like I’m disabled is another layer of how  you’re treated and also the term misogyny where people misogynistic because you’re a woman, but also because you’re a black woman. So, I often get the angry black woman stereotype, or I’m used as a token. So if I’ve been involved in any modelling campaigns or Tv work, its usually feels like a tick box exercise because the way I’m treated on set isn’t very nice often I’m dismissed. So, I just try to bring my best self.

Think generally nice polite person and if people try to challenge me or the person that I am I can do that with some humidity and I try and educate people.

What support do you find most helpful in your professional life as a model?

I think it is my mom because we always have fun together and she’s super supportive and she loves me. We’re a great team and I’m actually her shadow. And I think it’s really cool because I always have her with me wherever I go, so I thinks that’s really fun.

Yeah so It’s important to have your mum on set.

Yeah, Yeah just because my dad can be a little embarrassing but I still love him.

So, I got into modelling, because its really fun. And my sister does it. I think that’s really fun, and I really love her with all my heart. And I think it’s because I wanted to represent myself as a role model to people, especially people who are actually in college and I think that’s super cool as I’m an ambassador for a couple of charities, and I think people will look up to me that way. 

And I think it’s cause I love my work and I love what I’m doing and I love life, and I love everything about myself and everyone of my family and my friends. I think that’s what people will say a lot about be that I’m model, I’m a legend and that’s really cool cause I mean someone saying like I’m sassy and a diva like and that’s really funny and I’m also been called that at college.

Maya Patil
Millie Flemington-Clare

What aspects of your disability do you feel comfortable sharing with us today?

So, I was born with a rare genetic condition called Cystinosis. It only effects around 2000 people worldwide it affects. Basically, a protein called cystine. It builds up in all my organs, mainly my eyes and my kidneys. I’ve had two kidney transplants in the last four years. One of which unfortunately I got a blood clot, so I was in ICU for around three months and that’s the reason Also, that I am short in stature and I’m around four foot six seven at a push. People with my condition often are smaller but it’s very unknown and I usually I’m teaching doctors and they’re googling my condition in front me which is always good.


What changes, improvements would you like to see in the fashion and modelling industry to make it more inclusive for disabled people?

I would like it to be more accessible in many ways. Firstly, accessible in terms of casting and how disabled models can get and build a portfolio because being a model can be expensive. Models are pressured to build a portfolio and pay to build a portfolio often and as I said before, the same people are 53% of disabled people are unemployed. It costs a hell of a lot more to live as a disabled person. 

So firstly, the cost of being a model needs to be reduced somehow for disabled models, because that’s the first barrier. Most disabled people wouldn’t even get to be in a shoot because of that. I think they need to cast more genuinely not tokenistic. Not picking people who are very visually disabled as, as much as that’s good. I think it needs to be variety of people and showing that disability has so many different faces, and it doesn’t look like one thing.

Especially as the kind definition of disability… more disabilities are added every day, like menopause has just been added to the definition of disability. So, I think more genuine casting is really needed.

About Jade LA Fisher

Jade L A Fisher is a disabled portrait photographer based in the Southwest of England. She believes in using her images to provoke conversations around diversity and inclusion. She is passionate about capturing stories that are often unheard, while creating imagery that includes underrepresented groups. Her mission is to create a safe space for everyone to express themselves and their unique identities through her work.


Curator: Celina Loh
Online exhibition design: Mishkath (Mishi) Ahmed Rasheed
Producers: Abdul Shakir, Hana Zamri, Celina Loh
With special thanks to: Hannah Wallis, Muzium Telekom, Saan1

Continuum is the end of the residency exhibition part of Creative Access in New Media Arts, a five-month online residency by In Transit in collaboration with Filamen, supported by the British Council’s Connections Through Culture Grant.

Throughout the residency, the artists explored methods of integrating access and projection into their creative practice.