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.