Is it unethical to use non-disabled people in wheelchairs?

Dipictes a woman in a wheel chair.

A later image 1265632 shows her walking around pushing the guy around.

Should we use wheelchairs as "props" ?

Photo credits: Starfotograf.

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March 21, 2008


Sorry missed your comments about wheelchairs as props because it is spaced down.

As far as props, there's nothing really wrong with it in the broad sense, but it's not real life. If the shot is used for advertising, issues can become more sensitive depending on the product it is used for. For instance, in a general lifestyle shot of a family, or a couple, perhaps showing a picnic in the park, I don't see a problem. Used it to advertise a product geared towards disabled and it may be a can of worms. It is really the company advertising the product who should make such decisions and the ad department or ad designer should be instructed accordingly. Someone who has been chairbound for a long time will probably be able to tell if it is propped shot. In the case of true news editorial, it could definitely cause problems.

So see my second paragraph in te original reply, yes deifinitely attempt to find true life models because it will add a nuance to the photos that the propped ones don't have.

The Rob Lowe case - don't know about that one. That's Hollywood for you. It's just acting. There have been many actors who have portrayed various nationalities over the many years of film.

March 21, 2008


I think you missed a little bit of my question.

Restated, should we find real disabled people to model.

Think about Rob Lowe and all the trouble he has gotten into by depicting a black soldier.

March 21, 2008


Not at all. It is a part of society that has long been neglected in the media. A few years ago (2001) I did a webste for a lady who was disabled. She was a writer. We did a bunch of "fun" chair pics of her and dressed the website up nicely. The website was highly regarded in the disability community at that time because it was modern and cutting edge. It has been unfortunately discontinued by the estate - she passed away in 2006 from a long illness.

Here's a simple hint for shooting some - talk to "real" disabled people and use them for models, see what they CAN do, and photograph that. You will be amazed, and the photos will get a good response. They are better that the posed photos where the person is not in fact disabled.

March 21, 2008


No, it is not unethical. This is not an editorial photo. You can find here many photos where people are playing some role, like teacher, painter, computer salesman, office clerk, but in their real life they are working for example as models or somebody else. Photography can be also an art, where people imagine and stage different situations.

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