The one thing these kids have in common? They all have a form of disease or disability.
Rossi, who shuttles between Utah and Puerto Rico, says that the idea was to “showcase their inner strength, in a way that would bring a smile to their faces as well as others struggling with similar issues.”
Among them is Kayden Kinckle, a 5-year-old boy and a double amputee, who is dressed as the superhero Cyborg. “In Cyborg’s younger years, he was a healthy boy until he had a horrible accident. His father kept him alive by giving him robotic parts,” Rossi explains on his blog.
Another child, Teagan Pettit, 9, morphs into Superman. Pettit, who was born with half a heart, has already has had three open-heart surgeries. “He and Superman have one weak point, their heart,” Rossi says.
“I wanted to create something my daughter would have forever that showed the fun relationship and the love I have for her.”
It’s not the first time that Rossi, 32, has taken the world by storm with his photos. Married to Roxanna, 29, this dad to 11-month-old Josh, and 3-year-old girl, Nellee, first shot his own little girl in a Wonder Woman costume.
After spending US$1,500 on the handmade leather costume, Rossi used the Wonder Woman movie trailer (the film hadn’t been released yet) as a guide to create some incredible images.
Nor is it all about superheroes for this super dad. After the Wonder Woman shoot, he created a special project for Nellee. In Rossi’s quest to depict his daughter as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, he recreated the scenes from the movie, travelling all over Europe for a week to shoot castles, cities and provincial villages.
“I wanted to create something my daughter would have forever that showed the fun relationship and the love I have for her,” Rossi says.
SmartParents chatted with Rossi via an e-mail interview, to find out what inspires his work.
Hi Josh, thank you for talking to us! Tell us more about the Justice League shoot and what inspired it.
The Justice League idea came after doing a viral shoot for my daughter where I turned her into Wonder Woman. I got so many e-mails and calls from families who had children with diseases. They kept telling me that their kids were the real superheroes. After that, my wife and I decided to find the real superheroes in society.
Was it difficult finding the right kids for the shoot?
The photo shoot took two months in total between creating the costumes and editing the images. I took the photos in both Utah and New Jersey. The child had to have something in common with the superhero. For example, Teagan has one weakness which is that he was born with half a heart. Superman has one weakness as well and it is kryptonite. We paired each child with the matching super hero.
The message I want to convey is that our weaknesses are what make us strong.
What were some of the challenges of the shoot?
The costumes were created by professional costume designers and usually take months for each one. In this case, we had to rush the project and they were all done in three weeks. But the most rewarding part about this was making the kids happy ― and the message I want to convey is that our weaknesses are what make us strong. The superhero shoots will continue.
Let’s talk about your shoots with your little girl, Nellee. Her Wonder Woman photos and Beauty and the Beast series were beautiful!
Nellee loved the Beauty and the Beast shoot! It was so fun working with her. Once she put on the dresses, she turned into little actress mode. She literally thought she was in the movie. She would do all the poses perfectly and it was great. Although we did have to bribe her with food to continue the photoshoot at times…
It’s great that you manage to merge the work that you do, with being a great dad…
I've been doing photography for over 10 years and the best part about it is the flexibility to do what I want and spend time with my family when I want. I love spending time with Nellee, going out to breakfast in the mornings, since I work from home. It's great one-on-one time.
What’s the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely, doing the Justice League kids’ shoot, because it made such an impact on the children’s lives. It's not just another ad campaign ― it's art that affects people in a deep way.
Photos: Josh Rossi
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