These images are so much more than just sexy photographs.

Michael Stokes, a photographer from Berkeley, California, has two new books of his work coming out soon. One of them, called “Always Loyal,” features semi nude and nude photos of amputee veterans of the U.S. military. The other book, “Exhibition,” consists of male erotic images and figure studies of fitness competitors, personal trainers and body builders from around the world, as well as some veterans.

The Kickstarter campaign for the books reached its $48,250 goal in a little over an hour and, after just two weeks, more than tripled that number.

naked man with amputated leg

Stokes became involved with veterans while working on his last book, “Bare Strength.” In it, he had a chapter featuring veterans Alex Minksy, Brad Ivanchan and Chris Van Etten. He raised $10,000 from sales of the book and donated it to The Semper Fi Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance and support to wounded veterans.

“In some ways working with vets is easier than fitness models because they are used to taking order,” Stokes told The Mighty. “They also don’t complain about anything, ever.”

Always Loyal” features around 14 different United States Army, Navy and Marine veterans of The Gulf Wars, including one woman. The majority of them have lost one or more limbs in IED (improvised explosive device) attacks.

woman with amputated arms wearing flowered shirt

The hardcover photo book will be approximately 80-96 pages and will consist of both color and black and white images. Each veteran has a bio page and details related to his or her injuries.

Some people will say to me ‘Oh, this is really helpful to their self-esteem,’ or, ‘You’re making them feel like men again,’” Stokes told MTV News. “I hear all these types of comments, and the response I have to that is that these guys have come to me very healed and ready to take the world on. I’m not giving them back their confidence. They already have it.”

Check out some of the images from the book below: 

naked man with leg amputated

naked man laying back, showing leg amptuation

naked man flexing

man lifting up his kilt to show amputation

man with army uniform and sunglasses

naked man with leg amputated, sitting down

shirtless man with no legs, smiling and wearing sunglasses

man with no legs pulling up his shirt and pointing to abs

man with double leg amputation holding a weapon

man with no legs sitting on pillar

woman holding weapon behind naked man with no legs

man with amputation wearing a kilt

man in his underwear holding chains

naked man with american flag prosthetic leg

naked man with amputation

man with american flag prosthetic leg standing by a jeep

man with prosthetic american flag leg holding a gun

silhouette of man with prosthetic leg

shirtless man crossing his arms

man with prosthetic legs posing for photos

man missing a foot holding on to two ropes

shirtless man with two prosthetic legs

man with prosthetic leg posing holding his shirt up

man with prosthetic leg wearing a green kilt

man with prosthetic leg holding chains

naked man with two prosthetic legs

man with prosthetic legs in his underwear using one leg to prop gun up

naked man with missing foot laying on three pillars

shirtless man with prosthetic legs, posing with hand over his heart

naked man with prosthetic legs, posing with gun

shirtless man with prosthetic leg wearing checkered pants

man with prosthetic leg lifting a weight

 Visit Michael Stokes’s Facebook page for more information and to read more on the models’s individual stories. 

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One man is helping amputees stand tall again after losing a limb.

In 1985, at the age of 21, Dan Horkey lost the lower half of his left leg in a motorcycle accident in Tucson, Arizona, according to his website.

Life can change in an instant. It’s what we do with those changes that make up the rest of what life has to offer. For...

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Back in 1985, two months post Amputation.Not yet standing on my own, this is one of the first prosthetic legs.Result of a motorcycle crash in Tucson.

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For nearly 20 years after the accident, Horkey tried to hide his prosthetic devices and blend in. Then, one day he put on a prosthetic that was covered in flame artwork, and everything changed.

The moment I put fiery flames artwork on my socket, the compliments from strangers made me stand tall and my self-esteem went through the roof,” Horkey wrote on his website. “I wear my prosthesis with pride.”

 

He knew he wanted to help other amputees experience this as well. So in 2008 he started Prosthetic INK, a company that applies personalized artwork onto prosthetic limbs, orthopedic braces and pediatric cranial helmets.

The artwork is often reflective of the person who wears it. Some feature designs like sports team logos or symbols with personal meaning, while others are solid colors or chrome finishes.

Whatever look the wearer chooses, the message is clear — go ahead and stare.

“What I want to try to do [with my art] is tell people, ‘I’m doing fine. I’m proud to have this prosthetic. I’m making it my own. It’s a part of me now,’” Horkey told The Blaze. “We stand out to people. If we’re going to stand out, might as well have it look kickass.”

Check out some of Prosthetic INK’s artwork below:

 

We helped Ryan, 1st 14 yo boy with a Chrome Prosthetic.Let us help transform you! You'll love showing off your...

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Call to get your Prosthetic Limbs "Painted, Airbrushed or Chromed" by Dan Horkey at www.ProstheticINK.com © 2010 Karen Johanson

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#DanHorkey, #Amputee since 1985, 30 yrs this May survivor of a motorcycle crash.Inventor, founder of ProstheticInk.com...

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Call to get your Prosthetic Limbs "Painted, Airbrushed or Chromed" by Dan Horkey at www.ProstheticINK.com

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Dan, I want to thank you and your guys for the outstanding work you did on my leg. Being able to sport my Vietnam Army...

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Try our Fine Art Hand Brushing, Custom Color Paint and Airbrushing service.Call #DanHorkey for your custom quote at www.ProstheticINK.com

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Feel the Power of our #ProstheticChromeLimbs Our Spray Chrome is the only product of its kind that won’t peel, flake,...

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We create a one of kind design for you, or send us an image to quote.Call to get your Prosthetic Limbs "Painted, Airbrushed or Chromed" by Dan Horkey at www.ProstheticINK.com

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It’s funny that I used to get upset when people would stare at my prosthesis, but now with the Flash and Superman art...

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It is so much nicer than I could have even imagined. The Koi represents my courage and perseverance.Nancy AndristCall...

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Call to get your Prosthetic Limbs "Painted, Airbrushed or Chromed" by Dan Horkey at www.ProstheticINK.com

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Call to get your Prosthetic Limbs "Painted, Airbrushed or Chromed" by Dan Horkey at www.ProstheticINK.com © 2010 Karen Johanson

Posted by Prosthetic INK on Tuesday, December 3, 2013

 

To learn more about Prosthetic INK, or to donate prosthetic artwork to a veteran, visit the website or Facebook page.

Related: 8-Year-Old Gets Badass Leg Brace Art From a Tattoo Artist


Josh Sundquist is a motivational speaker, Paralympic ski racer and bestselling author. He’s also a master at Halloween costumes.

Check out this year’s costume below:

 

“I’ve always dealt with the social discomfort of my disability by having a sense of humor,” Sundquist wrote on his blog. He also says the foosball costume represents a major milestone he reached this year in making the U.S. Amputee World Cup soccer team.

Sundquist was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer when he was 9 years old, according to his website. Ultimately, he lost his left leg to the disease, but by the age of 13 he was declared cancer-free and three years later he was participating in competitive sports.

 

In 2006 Sundquist went to the Paralympics in Turino, Italy, and he’s the only person in history to ever have been named to both the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team and the U.S. Amputee Soccer Team.

He has a unique sense of humor and does not shy away from laughing at his own disability.

Check out some of his costumes from previous years:

 

“In high school I wore a prosthesis all the time and didn’t want anyone to find out I was missing a leg,” he wrote on his blog. “But now I’m more comfortable with who I am and what I look like, and I guess with these Halloween costumes you could even say that I celebrate what makes me different.”

Go here to see the behind the scenes making of this year’s Halloween costume, and be sure to check out Sundquist’s Facebook page and website for more funny and inspirational photos and messages.

h/t Buzzfeed

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After his peewee football jersey was retired in 2012, Deven Jackson thought he was out of the game forever. Now, after two long years of surgery and rehabilitation, he’s back in.

Deven, 10, had to quit the sport he loves when he contracted a severe case of meningitis, according to The Patriot-News. Doctors amputated his legs below the knees to save his life.

Photo: MARK PYNES | mpynes@pennlive.com
Photo: MARK PYNES | [email protected]

Still, the then 7-year-old boy kept his positive spirit. Only two days after his amputations, he said he was ready to get back to football, according to the video below. Soon after, he got his first set of prosthetic legs and completely relearned to walk. Running, however, was a different story.

Photo: MARK PYNES | mpynes@pennlive.com
Photo: MARK PYNES | [email protected]

It wasn’t long before he was introduced to carbon fiber running blades, according to Fox News. These are a lighter prosthetic, specially designed for running. He’s been on the field in blades since June after a generous donor gave him a set that he or she no longer needed. Each of the prosthetic runners costs between $5,000 and $10,000, Fox reported.

Photo: MARK PYNES | mpynes@pennlive.com
Photo: MARK PYNES | [email protected]

Deven’s willingness to get back on the gridiron is admirable, but his body is still playing catch-up. His mother told The Patriot-News that he’s exerting significantly more energy than the others on the field.

In addition to his body having to get on board, the CFA Football League needed some convincing as well. Assistant Commissioner Dave Bickel spent nine months researching, talking with doctors, lawyers and referees to make sure Deven met all the necessary requirements to play, according to ABC 27.

Photo: MARK PYNES | mpynes@pennlive.com
Photo: MARK PYNES | [email protected]

Above all else, the league had to ensure Deven’s blades would not be a danger to him or anyone else. To meet this requirement, his father, Dave Jackson, fashioned some padding and cleats for the blades, which take up to two hours to put on.

Deven’s former coach, Justin Henne, vouched for the boy’s work ethic on the field.

“He’s not looking at it as a hindrance,” he told The Patriot-News. “He knows he has to work harder than others, but he wants to do it.”

Photos courtesy of MARK PYNES | [email protected]

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Photos courtesy of HioKit Lao.
Photos courtesy of HioKit Lao.

Last week, Karen Crespo, 31, received a standing ovation after becoming the first quadruple amputee to walk the runway at a New York Fashion Week show, according to ABC News.

Three years ago, a severe form of bacterial meningitis forced doctors to amputate Crespo’s arms and legs. She survived two heart attacks, 15 days in a coma and a six-month stay in the intensive care unit before finally going home in a wheelchair, according to ABC.

Crespo told Fox 5 that she spent the next two years in hiding, not quite understanding the potential her life still had. The former nurse said she didn’t feel like she could be a “girly-girl” anymore.

That was until she saw the work of designer Carrie Hammer, who, in February, made national headlines when she had Danielle Sheypuk, who uses a wheelchair due to spinal muscular atrophy, model at her show.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to email Carrie Hammer and let her know how I feel,’” Crespo told Good Morning America. “I thought, ‘This is amazing how someone would break the boundaries and let someone in a wheelchair be in New York Fashion Week.’”

Hammer was overwhelmed by the email’s emotional weight.

“She sent me the most lovely, touching and down-to-earth email that made me sob,” Hammer told the network. “I wrote her back immediately and said, ‘Oh my God, I would love to chat with you and would love to have you walk in our next show.’”

Photos courtesy of HioKit Lao.
Photos courtesy of HioKit Lao.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as that. In November 2013, Crespo faced another tragedy when nearly $100,000-worth of new prosthetics were stolen from her front doorstep, according to ABC News.

So Hammer made a call to the company that made the prosthetics and explained the situation. Crespo got the replacements, and her insurance paid for them, according to the Fox 5 video below.

“It was a surreal moment,” she told Good Morning America. “There was so much in this for me, especially for my confidence. It helped me with having a positive outlook on life.”

Watch her runway walk in the video below.

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When Lacey Phipps made the difficult decision to amputate both her legs, she hoped it would improve her quality of life. Thanks to the help of generous strangers, she was right. Now, she’s trying to give back.

Phipps, 23, spent most of her life with two clubfeet, a condition that left her in constant pain. The congenital birth defect twists feet out of position and affects one out of every 1,000 newborns, according to The Washington Post. Phipps used a wheelchair to get around.

About one year ago, she decided to have both legs removed in the hopes she’d gain the ability to walk with prosthetics. Unfortunately, Phipps’ insurance didn’t cover the cost of new legs. But just when she thought all was lost, she discovered a couple on Facebook who were looking to donate prosthetics from their clinic, according to My Fox DC.

John and Michele Hattingh run the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia. After hearing Phipps’ story, the two were more than happy to donate $30,000-worth of prosthetics.

(Photo: Facebook / Lacey Phipps)

With new legs and the ability to walk for the first time, Phipps has become more active, lost weight and gone off her pain medication. 

I’ve done so much in the last year that no one thought was possible,” Phipps wrote on her blog. “I’ve been whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, camping, rock climbing, traveling, dancing, running, jumping and so much more! Not too bad for the kid they said would never walk!”

Phipps hasn’t forgotten that she wouldn’t be here if not for the generosity of strangers. She also never forgets that many amputees cannot afford life-changing prosthetics. That’s why she’s using her adventures to help them.

Along with Leslie Mooney, also an amputee, Phipps will bike 340 miles — from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., to raise money so more prosthetics can be donated.

“We are amputees wanting to prove that life doesn’t end after amputation and in the process help a fellow amputee regain their quality of life,” the fundraising page reads.

(Photo: Facebook / Lacey Phipps)

You can watch Phipps explain her journey in the video below and donate to her cause here. All photos via Facebook.

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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