A photographer has turned excitement for the latest Avengers installment into an inspiring photo series that transformed bullied children into real-life versions of the popular film franchise’s famous superheroes – and it even featured Justin Bieber’s younger brother who wanted to get involved in the meaningful project.
Josh Rossi, 33, of Salt Lake City, Utah, spent three months uniting bullied children for the action-packed snaps, which show the adorable children dressed up as their favorite characters which included, Spiderman, Black Panther, Iron Man and the Hulk.
Other pictures show brave Jackson Bezzant who has been bullied for the facial deformities he was born with as Captain America defying an evil dark force and Justin Bieber’s younger brother Jaxon as Thor.
Anti-bullying: Josh Rossi, 33, of Salt Lake City, Utah, took photos of bullied children transformed into real-life versions of the popular film franchise’s famous superheroes
Inspiring: The photo series even featured Justin Bieber’s little brother, Jaxon, who dressed as Thor (left) and Sydney (right) who last year, struggled with depression
Being different: Jackson Sommer, dressed as Dr Strange and has been bullied because he’s missing 35 per cent of his brain
The idea for the meaningful photo shoot came after Josh saw a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, which is scheduled to come out April 27.
He said: ‘After recently seeing the trailer for the new Avenger’s movie, my wife Roxana and I were inspired to bring bullied kids together to provide a platform where their voices could be heard.’
‘In the movie, the bully of the universe, Thanos, comes to take over the world, but the Avengers unite to destroy him.’
‘Each Avenger has unique differences and strengths ranging from green and purple skin to being able to stop time. Without each superhero’s strength and power, their efforts to defeat Thanos will be unsuccessful.’
Made of iron: Grant Southam dressed an Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man from the film franchise
Meaningful photos: Miles (left), who is dressed a Hawkeye from the Avengers movies has been bullied for having ADHD and Jaron (right) has been bullied for his ethnicity
Hard to make friends: Benjamin, six, who dressed as Falcon from the Avengers franchise, has autism, which makes it hard to make and keep friends
Being himself: Cole (left), who is dressed as Vision from the Marvel Comics, has been bullied because he is gender fluid. Dorothy dressed as Black Widow to take a stand against bullying
He added: ‘Similar to bullying, as we unite against it we can stop it.’
In an emotional video, the children and their parents shared their heart wrenching stories of bullying before being transformed into the fearless heroes to become ‘The Avengers of Bullying’.
‘Going into this project, my wife Roxana and I didn’t know the heartbreaking details of each kid’s story,’ Josh said.
‘We didn’t know that 12-year-old Jackson Sommers (Dr. Strange) had 35 per cent of his brain missing and that kids pushed him down and spit on him at school because he walked and talked differently than they did.’
Unique: Josh dressed as Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. He has been bullied for having different interest from other kids
Brave: Leila dressed as Maria Hill from the Marvel Comics. She has struggled with depression and anxiety and been bullied for going to a therapist
Cruel kids: Braiden dressed as the Hulk and was bullied for his size and not being able to run as fast as other kids. Mia (right) dressed as Scarlet Witch from the Marvel Comics
Berated: Benson dressed as Spiderman and has been called names and targeted by classmates
‘We didn’t know that Sydney Gerardis (Gamora) was secretly contemplating her suicide when her close friends told her they’d throw a party if she died.
‘We definitely didn’t know the cruel words that were said to Grant Southam (Ironman) when he would walk past kids at school every day and they would yell, “The retard is here!” while beating their chests.’
After seeing and hearing about the kids’ stories, Josh knew he had to help the children take a stand against bullying.
He said: ‘We knew that if we could provide a platform where each kid could make a powerful statement against abuse, it would help unite others against it.’
‘Once word spread about the project we were surprised to gain support from Jaxon Bieber. Jaxon wanted to make a stand against bullying in a powerful way so he and his dad, Jeremy, flew out to be part of the project.’
Strong: Morsi dressed as Black Panther and has been bullied for not being able to speak English. Jackson dressed as Captain America and has been bullied for his facial deformities
Passion: Josh (pictured) started in film and advertising but he quickly realized that his passion was in creating epic scenes using photography
Coming soon: The idea for the meaningful photo shoot came after Josh saw a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, which is scheduled to come out April 27
Brothers: Justin and Jaxon Bieber struck a pose at the 2016 Grammy Awards in February 2016
‘We split up the photo shoot into three days because of the size of the group. The majority of the kids live in Utah but are from six different continents.’
The costumes were designed and created by Julie Whiteley over three months.
Josh’s interests started in film and advertising but he quickly realized that his passion was in creating epic scenes using photography, which he has done before for terminally ill children and his daughter.
Last February, Josh helped transform his three-year-old daughter, Nellee, into Belle from Beauty in the Beast as part of a stunning photo series inspired by the Disney film.
And in December, he photographed children suffering from life-threatening illnesses and disabilities who were transformed into their inner superheroes such as Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman.