When man meets metal: Rise of the transhumans

Some of the people that Vintiner has photographed have had their desire for the superhuman thrust upon them. James Young lost his arm and leg in a rail accident in east London in 2012. He subsequently enjoyed a degree of publicity when he won a competition offered by a computer gaming company to receive a bionic arm, laser lit, and with phone-charging ports and a personal drone attachment.

Eighteen months on, Young has mixed feelings about the arm, which he helped to design with London-based prosthetic sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata. For all its gadgetry and futuristic style, the arm is heavy to wear and limited in “normal” function. He usually does without it. He is most grateful that the arm has led him into a new career as a TV presenter, partly from the interest it generated. He plans, however, to replace it with a model that can be properly attached to his bone, and eventually integrated with his neural intention.

Though the arm was a great conversation starter – he has been adopted by the transhuman community – Young fears that augmentation will continue to be a marginal interest.