The custom prosthetic limbs created by Sophie de Oliveira Barata as part of the Alternative Limb Project boldly reflect the wearer's imagination, personality, and interests.
"An alternative-style limb can help to break down social barriers, delight the eye, and provide an unusual talking point," according to the Web site. de Oliveira Barata studied special-effects prosthetics for film and television at London Arts University and now helps prosthetists craft artificial limbs from the realistic looking to the eye-catching and offbeat.
Para-triathlete Jo-Jo Cranfield's snake arm -- which features a split-tongued green reptile slithering out from the inside -- definitely falls into the latter category.
British singer-songwriter and performance artist Viktoria Modesta Moskalova underwent a voluntary below-the-knee leg amputation in 2007 to improve her mobility and balance following numerous hospitalizations and health problems stemming from a doctor's error at birth. "I was very sure that by losing my natural damaged limb I would gain better health and most importantly, control over it all," she says.
This leg studded with crystals and speakers, the 27-year-old artist says, is a "special piece that needs to be exposed only in special circumstances to be fully appreciated, meaning onstage, on film, or as part of an art installation."
Ryan Seary, a former British serviceman who worked in explosive ordnance disposal, lost his left foot and hand during a high-risk search mission in Afghanistan, and now wears this leg that shows some muscle.
"I think 99 percent of the amputees I have met would like an alternative limb as we tend to think of our prosthetics more as items of clothing like extended shoes or accessories of which everyone has their own individual style, much like people who choose to have a tattoo," Seary says. "Someone might like a butterfly and someone else would prefer the grim reaper."