Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Positive Exposure

Alongside the films of The Other Film Festival, I attended a seriously inspiring and powerful presentation titled Positive Exposure.

Rick Guidotti is a former fashion photographer who used to produce glossy front cover photos of beautiful women such as Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, et al.  Until one day his photographer's eye spotted a girl in the street in NYC, and was stuck by her stark white hair and pale skin and true beauty - he found out that she had albinism.

Fascinated, Rick did some research into her condition, but found only impersonal photos in medical texts, with subjects posed stiffly against sterile medical settings, and with privacy bars across their bodies and faces.

From this, he was inspired to contact a group in NYC who support families with children with albinism and discussed seting up a photo shoot with some of the children to capture their unique and stunning beauty.  In doing so, Rick recounts the story of his first such subject, who he had come and pose in the very setting he had just finished a supermodel shoot.  He recounted Christine's initial body language as she entered the room, and carried herself - someone who had been subject to stares and taunts all her life.  He carried on with the shoot, just as he would have with the likes as a Naomi Campbell, lights and wind effects and all, and in those moments, changed the way Christine saw herself.  She walked out of the shoot with a different air, her shoulders back, her self-esteem changed forever.  The ideas behind Positive Exposure was born.

In his talk Rick recounted, and showed us, so many kids he had met through different organisations, starting with an interest in albinism, and branching out to many different groups of people with genetic difference.  The photos are stunning - and radiate hope, individuality, self-concept and beauty.

One of the most powerful examples of putting the person before their disability I have come across, Rick spoke of each of his photographic subjects with a story and their name, and in many instances had returned to visit them in follow up years to take their photos again.  All across the world, Rick's work has changed the way these kids have seen themselves - and his presentation, and the display of his amazing prints downstairs at the Festival, brought these positive images to us all.

The session was so inspiring - I have never been to any lecture or session where so many people shared personal stories, comments, asked questions about the work and future plans of the company and Rick's work in response to a talk like this.

Thanks to finally meeting Carly on this same day, I got to chat to Rick myself, and watch him work with both Carly and Jess and take their photos, and make them feel as amazing as they are.

Rick's connection with the kids he has worked with, and the stunning photos he has taken and showcases, is such a powerful message of beauty, connection, self-esteem and difference.  And through his work on an individual basis, he has managed to change the way kids with genetic difference see themselves.  A most powerful work for social change, with the organisational motto of "self acceptance = self awareness = self advocacy". Truly amazing.


  1. Ooh I love this! Rick makes me feel so happy and I truly believe in the work he does. So glad we got to meet too!

    1. Ohh, thank you! Was awesome to meet you!

  2. What a wonderful idea to help promote self-confidence and esteem...both of which can be life changing for such impressionable adolescents! Thanks for sharing:-)

    1. It's pretty amazing work!
      I think he is having a gallery show in NYC soon - you'll have to keep your eye out! Definitely worth seeing, and catching Rick talk if you can!


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