North East Wales

Photographer Ceridwen Hughes inspired by son who 'can't smile'

Ceridwen Hughes and her son Isaac Image copyright Ceridwen Barkley Photography
Image caption Isaac was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome as an infant

A woman has been inspired to shed light on rare medical conditions by her son, who has a syndrome that means she has never seen him smile.

Ceridwen Hughes from Mold, Flintshire, has set up a photography project with help from lottery funding.

Her eight-year-old son Isaac has Moebius Syndrome, which causes facial paralysis.

"It's about showing the people behind the conditions," Ms Hughes said.

Image copyright Ceridwen Barkley Photography
Image caption Isaac has problems smiling, moving his eyes and until recently, has struggled with speech

Isaac's condition means he also struggles to move his eyes left and right.

His mother said it "doesn't affect him cognitively, but people make assumptions based on the way he looks and acts".

"He's just like any other eight-year-old boy, he's a cheeky bubbly little character with lots of friends," she told BBC Radio Wales' Jason Mohammad programme.

Ms Hughes started the project to help people "get past the barrier" to not see disabled people as "a threat".

Since setting up her non-profit group Same But Different, she has so far photographed around 20 children with different rare conditions.

Image copyright Ceridwen Barkley Photography
Image caption Matthew has Crouzon Syndrome, a genetic disorder which affects the growth of the skull
Image copyright Ceridwen Barkley Photography
Image caption Elisabeth is six years old and has hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
Image copyright Ceridwen Barkley Photography
Image caption Katja also has Moebius Syndrome, a rare congenital disease

"Hopefully people will think they're beautiful portraits and want to know more about the people behind the condition, not just the condition," she said.

The photographs will be displayed at exhibitions in the Senedd and Clwyd Theatr Cymru next year.

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