About the Program
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.
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.
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.
Positive Exposure utilizes photography and video to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical and behavioral and intellectual differences. Our educational and advocacy programs reach around the globe to promote a more inclusive, compassionate world where differences are celebrated.
The statistics to support our work are staggering. With one out of five children in the United States being born with a disability, the need for society to understand and respect children and adults living with genetic, physical and behavioral differences is critical.
- Photo shoots, interviews, and self-esteem workshops to empower people living with difference.
- Lectures and workshops targeting medical schools, corporations, nursing and genetic counseling programs, universities, elementary and secondary schools worldwide.
- The Pearls Project, an interactive, educational program for K-12 students, teachers, and healthcare providers.
- Image Database for print and media.
- Media Campaigns.
- Multi Media Exhibitions.
- FRAME (Faces Redefining the Art of Medical Education) , a series of brief films presenting the hallmarks of a variety of Genetic conditions. The medical information is delivered by people living with the condition and their families.
How you can help:
- Make an online donation.
- Invite a Positive Exposure presentation, exhibition to your community.
- Be a PEARLS Project Host School.
- Collaborate with Positive Exposure and your community.