Michael Stokes, a fine arts photographer in California, takes a bold new approach to veteran portrait photography by taking powerful and sexually charged photos of confident veterans posing proudly with their amputated body parts and prosthetics.

The project began with Alex Minsky, a U.S. Marine whose leg was amputated after suffering a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009. After Minsky set the tone for a confident and proud photoshoot as opposed to a somber one, other veterans began to sign up, leading to a book by Stokes called “Always Loyal.”

“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. “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.”

More info: michaelstokes.netFacebook | Kickstarter (h/t: aplus, mtv)

“I’m not giving them back their confidence. They already have it”

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