Get-hooked February 8, 2021
Nos, Why Not? is the world’s first agency for photographers with intellectual disabilities
Nos, Why Not?” meaning “We, Why Not?” Is the name of the world’s first agency for photographers with intellectual disabilities. The founder Felipe Alonso is an established photojournalist who is out to empower and boost the visibility of people with disabilities.
Well known photojournalist Felipe Alonso has worked with leading newspapers in Spain and collaborated with various international magazines. But his current project is perhaps the one closest to his heart. Alonso is the founder of Nos, Why Not? which means “We, Why Not?”, the world’s first agency for photographers with intellectual disabilities.
“Ten years ago, I moved from Barcelona to Galicia in northwestern Spain where I developed this project”, says Alonso. He started teaching photography to people with developmental disabilities and in 2013 “Nos, Why Not?” was born. “We are a non-profit and do not charge any subsidy and obtain our resources from our work”.
Nos, Why Not?, or NWNPhoto as it’s widely known, is supported by the María José Jove Foundation. Today there are over 25 photographers with developmental disabilities who are a part of this. Two of them are also blind.
Aiming to go truly global
Each group of disabled photographers has their complete independence and their own goals. NwnPhoto works to create a meeting point between disabled photographers and society, so we have to think about how to create value. When we have an idea to progress together, we communicate it and each group thinks about its decision. It is complicated but we advance step by step. – Felipe Alonso, Founder, Nos, Why Not?
The team stays true to its core values – creativity, quality, knowledge, collaborations and commitment. “To give a guarantee of quality to our client, a professional photographer controls the work and supervises the final result”, adds Alonso.
The NWN team
Diana Schevchenko, who has ADHD, started working with the group when she was 18 years old. “It was a very exciting moment for me when I went out into the street, and for the first time, realized that I was beginning to see the world in a different way, through other perspectives. The colors, the compositions… everything was different”.
Alexandra Lopez has FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders). She started learning at NWNPhoto at the age of 15. She loves taking pictures of landscapes and animals. “This is an opportunity for people with disabilities, who would otherwise have a difficult time learning. Thanks to this group I manage to learn at my own pace, and I surround myself with colleagues in a similar situation. We are a team and we learn together”.
“It is not easy for people with intellectual disabilities to find a way to learn photography”, adds team member Aaron Rey. Rey is 22 years old. “It is even more difficult to start a professional career”. With NWN, Rey hopes to achieve his goal.”My dream is to photograph Manhattan … now maybe I will”.
NwN’s clients are mainly municipalities, universities, and foundations. They are currently working on a campaign to start a commercial policy aimed at large companies.
“The main challenges in reaching customers are prejudice and ignorance”, says Alonso. “When a potential client receives us, he is always attentive, thinking that people with disabilities cannot be useful. To get the potential client to want to collaborate with us, and not think of it as acts of charity, NwNPhoto seeks and offers an additional value that only we can offer”.
He hopes to to take the project to countries in Africa and Asia one day, places “where it is very difficult to live with a disability, especially if it is intellectual”.
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