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Fashion Photographer Redefines Beauty By Turning the Lens on Genetic Conditions

Fashion photographer, Rick Guidotti, knows beauty.  He was a fashion photographer in New York, Paris, London, and Milan for 15 years.

But what makes Rick special is he is changing the “beholders” of the world.

“We often hear ourselves saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Too often people say that to make someone feel better. Our society has some pretty set ideas as to beauty and knowing it when we see it.” he says.

His goal: to challenge the stigmas associated with having a physical difference. In founding Positive Exposure, he has beautifully captured up to 70 different types of genetic dispositions in cover-ready photos.

 

The following information was taken from and adapted from GeneticAlliance.org: Prior to founding Positive Exposure. Please watch the video at the end of the excerpt and let us know what you think.

“Disenchanted with the conventional standards of beauty in our media-driven society (the iconization of models, actors, and ‘beautiful people’), Rick turned his lens to what he found significant and beautiful. He discovered what he was looking for when he saw a 15-year-old girl waiting for a bus. She was stunning. She had albinism. Her physical characteristics crossed all cultural and racial boundaries, yet never had been included in the beauty standard. Rick was inspired to seek out others like her in the hopes that they would form the basis of a revolutionary new photo project.

As Rick researched albinism in medical textbooks, he found photographs of children with this condition and other genetic conditions in their underwear up against cold gray walls in doctors’ offices—sad images of loneliness and sickness—in such stark contrast to the teenager he saw at the bus, laughing, her hair blowing in the wind. Parents with newborns diagnosed with albinism or any other genetic condition were shown these same textbook images as the only option to illustrate what they were to expect from their children. Rick approached the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH). His intentions to favorably impact the way albinism is perceived by society were clear, and he won the endorsement of NOAH’s board of directors before the first photo was taken.

LIFE magazine published the initial images from this endeavor in June 1998. In a five-page celebration titled “Redefining Beauty,” people with albinism laughed and danced before Guidotti’s lens. In keeping with the project’s formula, the photographs were accompanied by quotes Rick had collected from his subjects, providing a window into the experience of having albinism. These words were a testimonial to the triumph of self-acceptance in the face of adversity.”

Rick says, “I haven’t chosen what matters- its chosen me.”

Watch this clip and experience your own reinterpretation of beauty:

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