Inspiring Pro Photographer Born Without Hands and Legs Goes Above and Beyond Expectations

photographer without hands

Photo: YouTube

Indonesian professional photographer Achmad Zulkarnain—who was born without hands and legs—hasn't let his differences slow him down. In fact, the 24-year-old, who was recently profiled in a short film by Al Jazeera English, finds it ridiculous when people see him as disabled.

His interest in photography grew when he worked at an internet cafe with photography services. He purchased his first camera on credit and what was at first a hobby has blossomed into a career. Adapting to his circumstances, he uses his mouth to turn the camera on and off, and pushes the shutter with the extra bit of skin on his arms. After practicing to hone his skills, the photographer—who goes by the art name DZOEL—now teaches photography and retouching.

To move from place to place, Zulkarnain uses a special vehicle he designed and built with the help of friends. This gives him the independence to carry out photoshoots wherever he'd like. And for him, this is fundamental in allowing him to shoot creative work like any professional photographer. “I don't want people to see my pictures and think of who I am,” he tells Al Jazeera, “I just want them to see my creativity.”

Currently, Zulkarnain is pursuing a law degree while continuing his work as a photographer. And to others in similar circumstances, he has a clear message. “If you want to be perfect, erase the thought that you are disabled. You don't have to be perfect to be the best at what you do.” Learn more about his work in this short video and scroll down to see the young photographer's work.

Achmad Zulkarnain is an Indonesian professional photographer who was born without hands and legs.

He gets around using a vehicle he designed himself, working the camera by pressing it to his face and hitting the shutter with the extra skin on his arms.

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

He wants people to appreciate his work for its creativity, leaving his own circumstances out of their thoughts.

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

A post shared by bang_dzoel (@bangdzoel_) on

Achmad Zulkarnain: Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [Peta Pixel]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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