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See Me


Powerful photo series crushes Down syndrome misconceptions

People with Down syndrome are simply that. People. They have different hopes, personalities and aspirations — and photographer Hilary Gauld-Camilleri is on a mission to show that to the world.

Last month, the Ontario-based photographer launched a campaign titled "See Me,” sharing 31 portraits of people with Down syndrome over 31 days.

In just three days, Gauld-Camilleri photographed 52 individuals, ranging in ages from 3 months to 44 years. She then posted a different face every day on Facebook with a quote from each person's family.

"I was overwhelmed by the response to the photos!" she told Yahoo Canada. " I received personal messages from people all over Canada and the U.S. expressing how much they looked forward to seeing a new face every day. The faces in these photos touched people the way they touched me [and] I realized there was something bigger under the surface of this project."

Gauld-Camilleri was inspired to take up the project after she photographed a calendar for the Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society (WRDSS) last year.

"These children amaze me. They always do. Their happiness. Their nerves. Their laughter, hugs and curious eyes staring back at me as they looked into the camera," she said. "However, what moved me most were the families. Parent after parent, watching their children in front of the camera with such fierce and unconditional love."

She explained that she came up with the name "See Me" while she was in her bathroom one morning getting ready for a photoshoot, and it is exactly what she hopes the project would encourage people to do.

"Those two words are powerful. It’s what we all want for our children. To be seen," she said. "I challenge everyone to look a little longer. Don’t just look away. Smile and know there is a wonderful person inside."

The images have been compiled into a calendar and can be purchased here. All proceeds go directly to the families of the WRDSS. Click through the gallery above to see some of Gauld-Camilleri’s arresting photos or visit oneforthewall.ca to see the full series and let us know what you think by tweeting us @YahooStyleCA.