Connolly feels he's just as able-bodied as anyone. But he never quite adjusted to people's stares.
On a European trip last year he got tired of it. In what he admits to being a passive-aggressive response, Connolly looked the other way, held his camera at hip-level, and snapped a starer's photo.
"I wanted to stare back at that guy, to let him know that, 'Yeah, I catch you looking,'" he says. "And the way I did that was with my camera."
Afterward when Connolly looked at the photo, blurred from both the movement of the camera and the movement of the man, he was surprised to find he liked what he saw. And the seed was planted for a major creative project.
The following summer, bolstered by a grant and by winnings from a second-place finish in the X Games monoski-cross – a side-by-side race for disabled skiers, Connolly packed his bag with camera gear, 14 pairs of duct-tape-reinforced gloves, and his skateboard. He then set off on a journey around the world to explore an aspect of human nature on which he held a unique perspective.
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Connolly traveled to 15 countries in three months, from New Zealand to Japan, through Europe, Iceland, and then through America until he was back in Montana. Always shooting from the hip, he would start his days heading away from the sun, rolling through villages, and shooting people as he rolled. He would break for lunch, edit photos in his digital Nikon, and then start rolling back toward his hostel as the sun started to set.