My name is Lizzie, and I was born with grade 3 microtia and aural atresia, which means I do not have an inner or outer ear. I had my first surgery at 3 to widen my right ear canal, followed by ear reconstruction on my left side at age 10 and then a series of surgeries throughout my teenage years.
In addition to the surgeries I received, I’ve also had to deal with many psychosocial aspects of my condition, such as, realizing I failed a spelling test because I could not hear, having peers ask where my ear went or why it looks different, or even having to explain over and over to quizzical nurses about why I can’t have my temperature taken from my left ear.
I know it sounds like a lot for a kid to handle – and it is! – but these experiences have positively shaped my identity today and contribute to why photography has become such an important part of my life.
While my interest in photography started when I was just 6, it was more than just an artistic outlet for me. It has been a medium that has allowed me to express myself and become my form of communication, especially when verbal communication has sometimes been a challenge for me. Whether it’s shooting animals, portraits, travel and street scenes, I think photos can really speak a thousand words.
Lizzie has won numerous National Scholastic Awards and Young Travel Photographer of the Year Awards. Her work is currently being shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Over the past year, I began looking for ways to spread awareness about my craniofacial condition because I wanted to help others get the same support that I received. myFace’s mission means so much to me, as they are there to provide a network of support and important resources for craniofacial patients and families like mine. It seemed fitting that I would use my photography, which is such an expression of who I am, to give back to an organization that helps kids impacted by craniofacial differences like me. 100% of the proceeds from every photograph I sell will go to support myFace.
Visit photolizzie.weebly.com to view and purchase Lizzie’s work.
My message to anyone out there who is like me is to never give up and know you are not alone. I hope that as awareness about craniofacial differences spreads, we will help those out there who need support, and help them have just as good an experience as I did!