In the four years since Nolan Ryan Trowe acquired a spinal cord injury while cliff diving, he has established himself as an award-winning photographer with a knack for documenting the intimate, often overlooked moments of daily life. His stark black and white imagery often focuses on disability and has been featured in The New York Times and various other outlets. Last Fall, he was awarded first prize in Getty Images’ first-ever Disability-Focused Creative Bursary.
Trowe shot the photos in this spread over a two-year period when he lived in New York City to attend graduate school at New York University. All the photos depict his life with his friends.
“My original name for the Getty project when I proposed it was Adopted Family, because that’s how I felt about everyone up in New York. I moved there and it was just like being adopted by this family. I felt so accepted and loved,” he says. “I’m not trained as a photographer, so I just followed my friends around and showed their daily lives in New York City.”
Some of the photos have been published in the Times, others were part of the Getty Bursary, and others have not been presented until now. Trowe shot the photos while using both his crutches and wheelchair. He hopes they will shed light on what real life is like as a person with a disability.
“There’s such a lack of real imagery of people with disabilities regardless of what their race or economic status or country they’re from or whatever it may be,” he says. “I think people are just like, ‘Oh, it’s cool to see that perspective of people with disabilities.’”