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Monday 4 July 2016

Showing life with prosthetics

Final-year photography student James Moriarty-Simmonds created a series of photographs to highlight what it is really like to go through life with prosthetic limbs.

The project was inspired by James’ father who was born with foreshortened legs caused by Thalidomide. James took the photos at Dorset Orthopaedic Limited, the company that manufacture his father’s prosthetics.

We catch up with James to find out more about his stunning images, the parental inspiration behind his project and his plans for the future.

Tell us about your final project

It’s called Ex Nihilo which, translated from Latin, means out of nothing. It refers to my father’s use of prosthetic legs. The series was shot at Dorset Orthopaedic Limited who manufacture his limbs.


What was the inspiration behind your project?

I wanted the unseen world of mobility adaption to be seen through the eyes of someone who understands the processes required. The work was shot in a deadpan style allowing the viewer to observe the images objectively.

James' photo series is entitled Ex-Nihilo

How did you end up on this creative pathway?

I was always interested in photography. My creative eye was present from an early age; I was carrying around a toy camera from a very young age. My parents always supported what I wanted to do and it is a happy coincidence that my mum, who also has disabilities resulting from thalidomide, has now taken up painting. Around the time I went to Solent my mum joined the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists which led to her painting really taking off.

Find out more about James’ mum Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds on her website.

James' photo series is entitled Ex-Nihilo

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Solent?

Solent has allowed me to creatively explore many photographic avenues. The excellent darkroom facilities keep the skill of film and darkroom photography alive. The teaching is supportive and challenging and ensuring the best of each student.

What’s next for you? Tell us a bit about any work/experience/internships you have lined up. 

I hope that I can use my photography to enlighten and educate people into the unique lives of disabled people, showing them some of the adoptions necessary to allow my parents and many other disabled people to live a fulfilling life.

I am in the process of applying for jobs and have been successful in securing a number of interviews. However my future focus is to study for a master’s degree in photography in the coming years and to allow my practice to grow.

James' photo series is entitled Ex-Nihilo

Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other students or potential students?

I would say to take each day as it comes and allow yourself time to explore different photographic mediums. Most importantly talk to your peers and tutors about anything and everything. Make friends with the students in the year above, it’s surprising how much you can learn from them. Finally make sure you have a laugh and a good time – and let your work speak for itself!

Do you have a passion for photography? Join us on our BA (Hons) Photography course.