Portraits of me

Individual, active characters were clearly captured in an upbeat exhibition in the centre of their home city. Saba Salman reports

Josephine Euter

People with a learning disability are an active, visible and vital part of their communities – and their individuality and personalities must be celebrated.

These messages were at the heart of a joyful exhibition of images held by charity Sheffield Mencap and Gateway. The photographs were taken by award-wining photographer Joe Horner.

Horner, a British Portrait Award and Portrait of Humanity winner, collaboratively planned the shoots to reflect the individuality of each subject in the This is Me exhibition.

Horner included locations, props – and often other people – according to what his subjects felt best created a visual snapshot of their lives.

Jonathan Raimondi, senior manager at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway, said: “Each portrait captures the personality and individuality of each person and encourages the viewer to see the person beyond the disability.”

Sheffield Mencap and Gateway is an independent charity supporting more than 700 children and adults with learning disabilities or autism and their families and carers.

Established in 1951 by parents of children with learning disabilities, it works with Royal Mencap but receives no funding from it.

The free exhibition was held in Orchard Square shopping centre during Learning Disability Week in June.

Some of the photographs can be seen on the Sheffield Mencap and Gateway website.