Compassionate Projects Keep the Focus on People, Not Exposure

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Compassionate Projects Keep the Focus on People, Not Exposure
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I saw this video and absolutely loved the project. Jude Pullen has built a camera interface that allows James, who suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, to take pictures without the use of his fingers. Photography is something that takes James’ mind off of his fairly painful disease.

Without the addition of this camera rig, James had to rely on someone else to hold his camera for him. He would relay commands, like “zoom in a bit” and just hope that they’d get it right without too much back and forth. With Jude’s modifications, James now has a nice iPad interface where he can finely adjust the camera on his own, giving him some freedom to express himself better through film.

One huge aspect of doing a project like this is the exposure that will come afterwards. Even with my simple game controller modifications, it can be tempting to use the disadvantage of others to gain exposure. The internet loves a story that tugs at your heart. On my very first controller modification I did a video like that, and really didn’t like the way it felt. There’s a fine line between showing that someone has a disadvantage and taking advantage of their situation. Since then, I tend to focus almost completely on the build and nothing else.

In this talk, Jude Pullen and Ross Atkin actually discuss this specific aspect of doing projects to help others. The duo talks about what a great job the BBC 2 reality series The Big Life Fix did during production. Special consideration was spent to make sure that James wasn’t being taken advantage of, and that his story was a story of a person, and not simply a story of a disability. They do comment on how the teaser video that did the rounds on social media (embedded at the top of this post) didn’t quite adhere to the same quality in that respect that the full feature did.


As for the camera modification, you can actually find all the information to build one of your own at

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

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