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The Young Heroes

01/01/2018 By Karina Campos

Selections from photographer Josh Rossi’s Justice League photo shoot featuring children battling cancer. Selections from photographer Josh Rossi’s Justice League photo shoot featuring children battling cancer. Selections from photographer Josh Rossi’s Justice League photo shoot featuring children battling cancer.

Most children dream to one day embody their favorite superheroes. What started for photographer Josh Rossi as a photo shoot for his three-year-old-daughter dressed as Wonder Woman spiraled into a viral sensation that brought attention to some of the youngest heroes. 

Following the explosion of the pictures after posting them online, Rossi saw a flood of comments calling attention to the real superheroes—children undergoing cancer treatment. This sparked an idea for Rossi to create a photo series of kids battling cancer dressed up as Justice League characters.  

While it seemed like a great idea, attracting participants was a bit of a struggle. With hospitals putting up a lot of red tape, Rossi considered not going forward with the shoot. But with the encouragement of his wife and the help of social media, volunteers started to come forward. 

Rossi’s goal for the photo shoot was not only to recognize these strong children, but to also cheer them up by turning them into their favorite characters. “Working with the kids was really awesome,” he said. “Being on set was an emotional experience, seeing these kids and how they transformed when they put on the costumes. It got them back to being [fun kids] instead of constantly being in hospitals.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” he continued. “Warner Brothers Studios even put on a premier [for the photos] and all the kids got to walk the carpet and sign autographs.” Rossi said he is grateful and happy to be along for the ride and to help these amazing kids. His project’s evolution goes to show the power creators have when using their skills and talents to highlight people, places, and organizations for the greater good in a community. 

how to get involved
As designers, artists, makers, and creators, starting and following through with an idea can be challenging. “It’s so funny; people have these ideas all day long and they just don’t do them,” Rossi said. “That’s really what it comes down to: you have to go do it. If you have the idea, go produce it however you think, even if you don’t have all the resources.  The main thing is to create; whatever you create you are pulling something out from your inner self. Be open to how that creation can be useful to other people.” For him, it comes down to exploration and the liberation from the pressures of perfection to create art in the moment. 

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