Feb 12, 2012
In his TEDxPhoenix 11.11.11 TEDxTalk, Rick shares the inspiring story of POSITIVE EXPOSURE, and challenges us all to see and appreciate the beauty in our differences.
Positive Exposure was founded in 1998 by award winning fashion photographer, Rick Guidotti. Rick worked in NYC, Milan and Paris for a variety of high profile clients including Yves St Laurent, Revlon, L’Oreal, Elle, Harpers Bazaar and GQ. He took photographs of what were considered the world’s most beautiful people. But one day, on a break from a photo shoot, a chance encounter on a Manhattan street changed everything. Rick saw a stunning girl at the bus stop – a girl with pale skin and white hair, a girl with albinism. Upon returning home Rick began a process of discovery – about albinism, about people with genetic differences and about himself. What he found was startling and upsetting. The images that he saw were sad and dehumanizing. In medical textbooks children with a difference were seen as a disease, a diagnosis first, not as people.
It has always been about beauty for Rick. “In fashion I was always frustrated because I was told who I had to photograph. I was always told who was beautiful.” It became clear to him that it was essential for people to understand and see the beauty in our shared humanity. But how? How do you lead people down a different path? How do you get people to see those with differences not as victims, but kids and people first and foremost? The pity has to disappear. The fear has to disappear. Behavior has to change. These kids need to be seen as their parents see them, as their friends see them, as valuable and positive parts of society, as beautiful.
The photos give people the permission to see beauty and interpret beauty in their own right. Not to see beauty that is dictated by industry’s ideas of what is acceptable. What started with photographs, has grown into a wide variety of programs created to empower people living with difference – and to educate the world around them.
So Rick turned his world upside down – he stopped working in the fashion industry and created a not-for-profit organization that he named Positive Exposure.
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/PositiveExpo