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Daring people with diabetes take on modelling challenge

Twenty plucky people with diabetes relished the chance of becoming models for the national photography exhibition ‘A Portrait of Diabetes’ for Diabetes UK.

The exhibition launched at the VAAD Gallery in Mayfair, London, on Friday 11 June and runs throughout Diabetes Week until Sunday 20 June.

The models were photographed by James Clarke, a former national newspaper photographer, who has Type 1 diabetes, as inspiring examples of people who have the condition and still make the most of their lives.

Being positive about diabetes

Samantha Barnett, one of the models (pictured), said: “I had a great time being photographed by James – it was a fun day but what I really enjoyed was knowing that it would help people to understand that having diabetes does not mean that you cannot live the life you want. I have always ensured that I follow my passion in ballet and in a way, this has helped me be a lot more positive about my diabetes.” 

Two combining aspects

A Portrait of Diabetes is a collection of photographs born out of the personal and professional passions of James Clarke. He said: “I bring together two defining aspects of my life combining my journey with diabetes and the impact that meeting the models has had on how I see my own condition.

"This is a clear thread running through the portraits, which makes viewing this collection a moving experience. The exhibition offers an observation of people with diabetes where the focus is not on their condition, but on other aspects of their life; their own passions and what makes them the person they are.

“In producing this work, I believe I have achieved a series of portraits that show people who have diabetes are healthy looking, active and unusually individual just like the rest of the population. This project is very close to my heart and I hope my photographs will help to overturn some of the many outdated views that surround diabetes with strong images of physically fit people with diabetes. The subjects of my pictures are certainly an inspiration to me and I hope that they will inspire others.”

Diabetes myths

Andy James, Fundraising and Communications Director at Diabetes UK, said: “This exhibition is a fantastic vehicle to dispel some of the many myths around diabetes – including the idea that people with diabetes are unwell or unable to take part in physical activity.  We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with James on this project.”

To view more of James’ work and to get in touch visitwww.jamesclarke.biz

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