Seems impossible and improbable for a handicap of the arms region to be a photographer, isn’t it?
A woman named Rusidah has defied the odds and became exactly that.
Rusidah, an Indonesian woman, seems reluctant to discuss her arms. She was born with the handicap, in that she was born without arms. Now she could only think of ways to move her life forward. Having graduated from junior high school, Rusidah who were born into an ordinary family, were instated into a handicap rehabilitation center in Solo, Indonesia. One of her life’s dreams was to become a photographer. And wanting to do just that, but having this very unfortunate disability, she modified her camera to suit her handicap.
The camera she uses now was given to her by the state government of Purworejo, Indonesia in 1995 when she was just starting to get hear bearing as a professional photographer. Several establishments were pleased with her photographic results. Because of her success, the now 44 year old Rusidah is employed as a permanent professional photographer for the Pemberdayaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga(Family Welfare Empowerment) team of the state government of Purworejo. Now, Rusidah’s name is starting to become quite well known.
Rusidah is not only talented in operating her camera. She is also fully able to perform various everyday tasks at home, including preparing her only child Nugroho for school.
Rusidah spirit has raised quite a bit of sympathy. In several occasions, Rusidah have received photographic equipment from various sources. Though there were a time when she felt marginalized by the ever-advancing technology of the photography world, she was able to quickly bounce back. “I never lose hope,” she said recently.
Now Rusidah is armed with a Canon EOS 550D and a Speedlite 430EX II Canon flash. “I started photographing since the film photography era. And there are several brands that I’ve used in the past,” said Rusidah as she showed albums of her previous work. The most money earned for her photography services, apart from various wedding receptions, was when she was hired to shoot a village-level carnival. “I want to own my own photo studio,” she said.
The wisdom we can draw from Rusidah’s life is to never give up on your dreams, regardless of all the obstacles life throws your way. And don’t give up easily. Hearing Rusidah’s story, a lack of advanced photography equipment, lack of good criticism, or other sorts of shortcomings should not be an excuse in limiting us to keep pushing the limits of your photography potential.
If there is a will, there will certainly be a solution. Keep at it, practice rigorously, and your hard work will surely pay off.
Here is a footage of Rusidah and her camera from a local news and indonesian talk show, you can also see several of Rusidah’s photography works.