“I had never thought of the power of a photograph as in the impact it would have in someone’s life.”
– Jayne Waithera, Positive Exposure Ambassador, Kenya
Positive Exposure originated from one chance encounter — and one groundbreaking idea.
Rick Guidotti, an award winning photographer, worked in NYC, Milan, Paris and London for a variety of high profile clients including Yves St Laurent, Revlon and L’Oreal. His photography credits spanned household publications like GQ, ELLE, and Harper’s Bazaar. Yet, he worked within the industry’s restrictive conventions. He was always told, who was beautiful!
Rick founded POSITIVE EXPOSURE after a chance encounter in 1997 with a young lady living with albinism at a bus stop in New York City. Albinism is a genetic condition that results with the absence of pigmentation in the hair and skin. As an artist, Rick was taken by her extraordinary beauty. In a quest for a better understanding of albinism, Rick sought out medical textbooks, where he was affronted by the dehumanizing images depicting disease, lacking all humanity. It was this experience which forced Rick to turn his lens from the more traditional ideas of beauty, to the beauty and richness of human diversity. In June 1998, Positive Exposure was launched in a LIFE Magazine cover story entitled “Redefining Beauty.” Guidotti’s five-page photographic essay featured people with albinism and powerful quotes addressing stigma, discrimination, prejudice, hatred and exclusion simply because of a physical difference.
Rick has since spent more than twenty-five years collaborating internationally with advocacy organizations/NGOs, medical schools, universities and other educational institutions to effect a sea-change in societal attitudes towards individuals living with genetic, physical, behavioral or intellectual difference.
Since that initial piece, Rick’s travels have brought him to all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries, where he has photographed thousands of individuals. Thanks to incredible public response and generous donors, Positive Exposure has transformed into a multi-pronged, global 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Today, Positive Exposure partners with hundreds of nonprofits, hospital systems, advocacy groups, and educational institutions, creating educational resources and programming to reconstruct societal attitudes towards individuals living with genetic, physical, behavioral, or intellectual difference. We strive to create spaces rooted in unity, respect, and inclusion.
Positive Exposure’s work has been profiled in regional, national, and international media outlets for contributions to human rights, mental health, medicine, and education. It is also the subject of the 2015 acclaimed documentary On Beauty. (Trailer)
Watch Rick share about Positive Exposure’s conception and growth at TEDxPhoenix.