Beauty

Powerful photography series celebrating those with port-wine birthmarks

Photographer Natalie McComas has embarked on an inspiring project that she hopes will change the way people look at those with prominent birthmarks.

Australian-based photographer Natalie McComas has embarked on an inspiring project that she hopes will change the way people look at those with prominent port wine birthmarks.

McComas has spent months working on ‘In This Skin’ which saw her travel the world taking pictures of beautiful and brave subjects who have large birthmarks.

In an interview with the ABC McComas said the idea for her project was born after meeting Patience Hodgson, the lead singer of Australian band The Grates who has a distinguished port wine birthmark.

The photographer has captured pictures of young children, twins, and musicians in a series of beautiful images she hopes will normalise birthmarks, as well as show those who have them they are nothing to be ashamed of.

“Lots of people have never seen a large birthmark … so when they do see it in the street maybe they’ll remember this exhibition,” McComas told the ABC.

“Maybe they’ll remember seeing the photos and reading the stories and have some education about that. And hopefully they’re a bit more compassionate about their reactions.”

According to to the Royal Children’s Hospital about 3 out of every 1,000 kids are born with a port-wine stain — a birthmark that literally looks like maroon wine was spilled or splashed on the skin.

The cause of the birthmarks are not fully understood. It is thought they could be a result of a problem with the nerves that control how much the capillaries widen in the area where the port wine stain mark is.

On her Instagram Natalie has shared some of the pieces she’ll be showing, including the above of little Sophia who suffers from Sturge-Weber syndrome.

The ‘In This Skin’ exhibition will be on display as part of the Head On Photography Festival in Sydney until May 15.

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