Human Courage Behind the Photograph

Take a look at the photograph below – just three happy children enjoying a day out at Carlisle Cathedral – but the story behind the picture is one of extraordinary courage.

One of the wonderful thing about photographing people is that these chance encounters – often with complete strangers – can uncover some amazing insights into other people’s lives.

Sometimes these insights can be deeply moving and reveal the most amazing courage.

None more so that that of little Olivia Story.

Olivia Story with her brother & sister at Carlisle Cathedral

Olivia Story (left) with her brother and sister. I took this picture during our Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral - only afterwards did I learn about Olivia's amazing story of courage. Photograph by Philip Dunn

I met Olivia when I spotted her and her brother and sister at Carlisle Cathedral last week during our Photography Workshop there. The three children were looking into a mirror which saves people from a crick in the neck when they view the ceiling of the cathedral. It was obviously going to make a lovely photograph of the three kids, so I asked their Dad if I might take a picture.

Dad was happy to give permission.

I had absolutely no idea that any of the children was in any way unusual – they were just three lovely lively kids. Only when her father Mike emailed me was Olivia’s extraordinary story revealed.

At the age of two, Olivia contracted meningitis. Serious complications set in resulting in the loss of both Olivia’s legs and one arm. Olivia is now eight – and a very active young lady who gets through around 4 prosthetic pairs of legs and two arms a year.

You can find out more about Olivia Story – and how you can help raise money for a new ‘bionic’ hand – by visiting her website at


  1. Powerful. Just shows one can never tell the trials and tribulations of another human being. Hopefully one may think before judging another.

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