Photographer turns sick and disabled children into superheroes

Last Halloween, photographer Josh Rossi went all out for his then-3-year-old daughter’s costume. The young but fierce Nellee Rossi went as Wonder Woman, with an elaborate costume that cost her dad $1,500.

Not one to miss a good photo opp, the elder Rossi—who is actually a commercial photographer—put his skills to good use and did an epic photo shoot, making his daughter look like a real-life superhero. Check out some of the awesome shots below:

“I wanted to showcase my daughter as a powerful character, instead of with a photoshoot where it’s about her looks or how cute she is. I want her to grow up knowing that there is more to life than beauty,” Rossi explained to People.

After his shots went viral, parents began reaching out to Rossi to see if he could do something similar for their children. Now Rossi’s at it again, this time turning six children suffering from illness and disability into members of the Justice League: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Cyborg and Flash. He worked with a local costume designer, Julie Whitley, to design the kids’ amazing outfits.

“What I especially love about it is that we picked specific kids for each role,” Rossi told People. “For example, if Superman gets near kryptonite, his heart gets weaker. Tegan Pettit, the boy we picked to play Superman, is waiting for a heart transplant and has half a heart. He was the perfect choice to play Superman.” Check out the shot of Pettit as Superman below:

The pictures were not all just for fun and games. For one day, these brave kids were able to feel a sense of empowerment that eludes them in their daily lives as they struggle with the burdens of their health problems.

Simon Fullmer, 5, is living with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, and got to be Batman for the day. Three-year-old Sofie Loftus, who was diagnosed last year with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer, got to borrow Nelle’s Wonder Woman costume. Mataese Manuma, 2, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and played Aquaman. Five-year-old Kayden Kinckle, who was born with a birth defect in which internal organs remain outside the body, was Cyborg. Zaiden Stolrow, whose ADHD has caused him to stop being invited to birthday parties, rounded out the group as Flash. Here’s a photo of the whole group:

“Shooting these pictures has changed my perspective on what I value in life,” he says. “With costumes or without, these kids are superheroes,” said Rossi. We couldn’t agree more. Kudos to Rossi and these brave kids! To see all the photos, visit Rossi’s website, or watch a video of the shoot here.