Shooting Beauty, the eight-time audience award-winning documentary film, chronicles the creation of Courtney Bent's experimental photography program at United Cerebral Palsy in Watertown, MA. The film has become the centerpiece for a national engagement campaign focused on valuing diversity, learning about disabilities and stopping bullying, and is also the inspiration for the 100 Cameras photography workshops- a program that places modified cameras systems into the hands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the country.
Shooting Beauty tells the inspirational story of aspiring fashion photographer, Courtney Bent, whose career takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a hidden world of beauty at a center for people with significant disabilities. Shot over the span of a decade, the film puts the viewer in Courtney's shoes as she overcomes her own unspoken prejudices and begins inventing cameras accessible to her new friends. Courtney's efforts snowball into an award-winning photography program called "Picture This"—and becomes the backdrop for an eye-opening story about romance, loss and laughter that will challenge what you thought you knew about living with a disability—and without one.
The Back Story
In the late 1990’s, Courtney Bent began adapting cameras and teaching photography to a group of individuals with disabilities at a community program in Watertown, MA. Her photography workshop was created to provide a new avenue of self expression through the art of photography for individuals with disabilities, some who had very limited means of communicating,
After hearing about the amazing individuals Courtney was was working with, filmmaker, George Kachadorian, encouraged Courtney to bring his video camera into the program to document her new friends and the evolution of the photography workshop. 250 hours of footage, and 10 years later, comes the documentary, Shooting Beauty, the story of the Picture This photography workshops.
Seeing the impact the film was having on its audiences (see audience reactions video, reviews & list of awards), George Kachadorian, Courtney Bent, and the Shooting Beauty team launched the Shooting Beauty Project which is an outreach and engagement initiative aimed at challenging stereotypes that prevent inclusive attitudes and inclusive communities. The project centers around redefining society’s vision of beauty and how, through art, conversations can begin about important and often unspoken issues surrounding acceptance, diversity and disability.
The Shooting Beauty Project has now expanded into:
- A traveling photography workshop for individuals with and with out disabilities
- A school program and curriculum focused on grades 6-12
- The Shooting Beauty Girl Scouts Patch Program
- A college and university lecture series
- A corporate diversity and disability awareness workshop
These programs are now reaching schools, institutions, businesses and communities throughout the United States and the world. Help make a change in your own community by finding out how you can bring Shooting Beauty to your school, university, institution, or business.