“Stories of Hidden Beauty” is a research of a different beauty, which gives an opportunity to people with various disabilities to feel their uniqueness.

The casting was announced in December 2017 and 18 heroes were chosen. A series of photo shoots was carried out in January and took a month to complete. Opera and Ballet Theatre of Yekaterinburg was a ground for the project. An individual image was designed for every hero, following the traditions of magazine shoots. Costume designer and make up artist of the project — Tatyiana Vorontsova.

“This project tells about self-belief and love for yourself, regardless of age, or appearance, or health condition.

Its name — Stories of Hidden Beauty — has a reason. These photos are to draw attention to our heroes’ fates. Their stories will hopefully change our view of them. And probably will inspire us to do something wonderful and significant.

To some extent I have been challenged with this project both in terms of social responsibility and professionalism. It is rather easy to show an inborn beauty in the photograph and to work with professional models. But putting a stranger to the world of glamour in this fashionable setting, revealing their unique, true beauty is quite an experience and quite a responsibility, too.

We live in the time of media pressure, which thrusts the pictures of superficial well-being on us.  These inflicted standards and beauty canons make people live in a permanent self-criticism.

Though beauty is a very contradictory notion. You can’t drive yourself to the requirements of the mainstream vision of beauty, or it will end up being a blind alley. We have a choice either to see our uniqueness or to deny our identity, following the wrong track of other people’s biases”.

Yulia Otroschenko, creator of the project

Yulia Otroschenko

 — is one of the leading photographers in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and a multiple photography prize winner. Trained as a lawyer, she changed her career path and has become a specialist in fashion and advertising photo shoot. She is also a lecturer and runs workshops.