For Rahul Saharan, there is nothing more beautiful than a smile on a person’s face.
In his series “Shoot for Beauty,” the New Delhi-based photographer focuses on the smiles of acid attack survivors who have been hiding their faces for years.
The series was not only a way for him to change society’s perception of attractiveness, but it was also a dream come true for one of his models —Rupa, who hasn’t used her surname since disowning her family.
The 22-year-old’s stepmother doused her with acid in 2008 while she was sleeping, but her father stood by the criminal, who was later imprisoned for 18 months, according to The Daily Mail.
Rupa is pictured in the video above and in a white, sleeveless dress in Saharan’s photographs. Her dream is to be a dress designer with her own clothing boutique in her hometown of New Delhi, India.
Since her attack, she has worked tirelessly to become financially independent. While helping other victims with the organization Stop Acid Attacks, Rupa decided to pursue her dream while helping her friends and fellow survivors heal with a fashion shoot using her own designs.
“It was basically for her rehabilitation program…she is a survivor and very hard-working girl,” Saharan said to Mashable.
Rupa and other models wore her custom-made gowns for the shoot. While most survivors suffer from low self esteem due to their condition, Saharan comments on Facebook that “these girls are strong enough to show that [they] love to get photographed.”
Saharan added that he dedicated this shoot to “every woman on earth…all of you are beautiful.” More of his “Shoot for Beauty” series can be seen on his professional Facebook page.
Rupa is currently raising money for her boutique through a crowdfunding campaign.Her hope is to set up shop and employ other acid attack survivors.
Salut i bellesa!