Portrait Positive.

Written by Clare Melvin

This week I have the pleasure of talking about one of my very best friends in the blog. Due to this most fortunate of relationships, with Dr Amanda Bates (the stunning redhead below!), I had the honour of attending the Portrait Positive launch on the 25th at the Wellcome Centre, London.


Portrait Positive is a campaign to challenge perceptions of beauty, and world renowned photographer Rankin, designer Stephen Tai, Stephen Bell and Changing Faces joined forces to provide alternative visions of beauty to those we see in mainstream media.

Portrait Positive showcases sixteen women with visible facial or body differences.  The campaign has gone viral and three of the models from the portrait series graced the catwalk in Steven Tai’s collection at London Fashion Week! Watch it here!

Speaking about the incredible campaign, Rankin said:

Living with a visible difference you are literally judged by your appearance and compared to what I think is a fake idea of what it is to be beautiful or even ‘normal’.

“The only way to shift this perception is to talk about it and face it head on. Our amazing subjects are dealing with these issues with grace, dignity and strength. It was an absolute honour to work with them and try to create a discussion around what it is to be beautiful. To me they are all unique.

The launch event this week coincided with the release of the Portrait Positive book.  The book includes all 16 models and their stories.  It also emphasises the importance of campaign and the need to breakdown stereotypes and increase diversity, representation and acceptance. The campaign has been on the news (Amanda was on the BBC, Brenda and on itv, and Catrin on Lorraine), and also featured in Glamour Magazine, Female First and The New York Times, to mention a few! Follow the links to watch/read more about these amazing women.

Collaborators of the night included Carter Studios, Unilever, Artic Paper, Bloch, Boss and Press, with the event being hosted by Gail Porter.  Guests were spoilt with entertainment, a silent auction and opportunities to speak to the models and focus on the great work being undertaken as part of Portrait Positive.


Changing Faces, is a charity striving for face equality, aiming to give people with disfigurements the opportunities to develop self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as providing training courses for health professionals, employers and teachers.

All proceeds from the Portrait Positive book go to Changing Faces, the leading charity for 1.3 million children, young people and adults in the UK who have a medical condition, mark or scar that makes them look different.

Approximately one in 111 people in the UK have a significant visible facial difference, despite being largely absent from representations in fashion and the media.

The women’s collection is Series 01 for Portrait Positive, next … Here come the Men!

You can  follow all the buzz around the campaign on twitter via #PortraitPositive and @FaceEquality.


LD in the News.



  • Learning Disability Today Conference, London. The annual event welcomes all with accessible talks consisting of three main topic streams (1) Autism & Learning Disability, (2) Health & Welbeing, (3) Policy & Practice.  The CPD certified conference is being held at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court, on 28th November 2018. Find out more and book your place here.Greater London Community of Practice
  • Sign up to the Greater London Learning Disability Community of Practice free launch event! 7th November 2018 at the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury. Come along and join the new community providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities, families, carers and professionals. Find out more and Book your place here.

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