A portrait photo of Charlie fitz in front of a grey cement wall, with collage letters in a curved line above her, which say 'Disability is beautiful'.

Disability is Beautiful I.

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Disabled Power I.

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I am My Own Muse I.

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Honour Vulnerability I.

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Disability is Beautiful II.

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Disabled Power II.

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I am My Own Muse II.

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Honour Vulnerability II.

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Honour Vulnerability III.

The Medical Muse is a series of assisted-self portraits created by Oscar Vinter and Charlie Fitz in 2022. The title ‘The Medical Muse’ is referencing Fitz’s rare condition which pushes the boundaries of medicine, as the series was created in the weeks after a neurosurgery Fitz had, which incorporated surgical techniques which had never been done before. 

The project represents Charlie's nuanced experience of disability through Vinter’s distinctive lens, in which he predominantly uses natural ambient light and mythic iconography. Through collaboration, the assisted self-portrait (a term the two coined), aims to give the subject greater autonomy over their representation, playing an active role in the shoot from concept to creation. This mode of portraiture requires a pre-existing relationship between the subject and photographer in which there is trust, respect and communication. The mode aims to acknowledge human vulnerability through mirroring and honouring relationships of mutual care and interdependence. 

As disabled and neurodivergent individuals, Fitz and Vinter developed this way of working organically to reclaim power over their personal representation. Although Fitz is the visible subject of the images, Fitz and Vinter’s relationship is the intangible force animating each photograph.