While I was in New York I spent an afternoon with my good friend Rick Guidotti - former fashion photographer and founder of Positive Exposure. Rick shares the beauty in appearance diversity through photographs.
I first met Rick in Melbourne when he was a guest and I was a judge of the Other Film Festival in 2012. Rick's work made me want to do even more around appearance activism - and so I have. We became great friends and I'm so glad I got to see him again in NYC.
Rick talks a lot about the need to showcase people with visible differences and medical conditions as people first, not as textbook specimens. He doesn't want people to forget they're different but to embrace their difference and show the world their beauty.
He wants viewers of his photographs to "Change how you see. See how you change."
I saw Rick at work, laying out pages for a book and talking with his staff about plans for his fundraiser next month. He is so passionate and proud of his work - especially the people he's photographed.
We did a fun video that afternoon - you can see how happy he makes me here!
Part of his art is making the people he photographs feel so comfortable. He is so lively and happy that you cannot help feel relaxed, confident and beautiful when being photographed. I think he helps bring that inner beauty to the surface.
Rick has photographed big time supermodels - and he treats everyone he photographs like a supermodel.
When he photographed me, I didn't worry about my hair being messy, the skin on my clothes or how red my face was. I just followed his lead, smiling and posing. The time we spent together made me feel so uplifted, on top of the world. And his compliments about my appearance and personality during and after the shoot was so amazing. I'm not vain but Rick showed me it's ok to see beauty in myself.
I love these photos!
Looking at these photos I see something that perhaps others see in me. I see myself sparkling.
Rick will be the keynote at the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types (FIRST) conference this June. The attendants will love him! They're so lucky!
This is also a great time to tell you I will be doing the Ichthyosis Awareness Month Blog Project again this May, like I did last year. I will be sharing stories of amazing people (and one non-human!) who experience Ichthyosis - patients, parents, partners and support group leaders. I hope that you'll enjoy and share the stories as much as you did last year.