Seeing beauty for a change: Rick Guidotti at TEDxPhoenix

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 [...] continue the story

Hope Comes in a Capsule

Heather Kirkwood’s mother always suspected her children had a bleeding disorder. During their childhood Heather and her younger brother were tested four different times for suspected bleeding disorders, but every time the tests came back negative. At 21, after two years of fighting what had been diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, Heather was severely bleeding from her large bowel. Doctors felt an ileostomy was the only solution, but were concerned about the bleeding. It was then that a hematologist suggested she might have Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome.

At the time so little was known about the syndrome, and so few people diagnosed, that the diagnosis was made based only on clinical presentation. Heather had no idea HPS was at all related to albinism, or that it put her at risk for pulmonary fibrosis.

A decade later, while seeking a second opinion for an unrelated complaint, a physician asked Heather for more information about HPS. “I’d been told it was a minor bleeding disorder and was easily treated, so I never thought much about it,” explains Heather, “I went online to do some research to answer the doctor’s questions, and it was only then that I discovered how serious this syndrome can be.”

Heather immediately reached out [...] continue the story