Positive Exposure: Overcoming Stigma

With the Positive Exposure NGO, photographer Rick Guidotti portrays those with genetic, physical or mental diversity in a new light, battling stigmas.

New perspectives in the portrayal of disease patterns

With his non-profit organisation "Positive Exposure", founded in 1998, the renowned photographer Rick Guidotti wants to overcome the stigmatisation of people with genetic, physical or mental differences by showing them from a new perspective.

Article translated from its German language version

Rick Guidotti has had the most famous clients from the beauty industry: He photographed some of the world’s top models for brands such as Yves St Laurent, L'Oréal, Harper's Bazaar or GQ. Until one day, during a break at work in New York, he saw a young girl with albinism standing at a bus stop, whose appearance impressed him so much that he began to research people with the condition. In his search, he came across what were for the most part depictions in medical books that he found dehumanised and reduced people with albinism to the mere clinical picture. And to his view, such predominant depictions contributed to the stigmatisation of people whose appearance and constitution differ from those of the majority.

Guidotti founded "Positive Exposure”, a non-profit organization with the aim of promoting an understanding of beauty as an idea of a shared humanity - and not as a dictate originating in the fashion industry. One of his organisation's projects is called "FRAME" (Faces Redefining The Art Of Medical Education). This is a web-based library and online resource that changes the way medical information is presented and disseminated. Short films portray individual genetic disease patterns, which serve as teaching material for medical and health education. In the films, people with an array of medical conditions have their say; they laugh, talk, move and present their disease themselves, and in their own terms. 

Also, the most important characteristics and the latest information on the respective disease patterns are explained. In addition to the film crew, the teams working in the project include experts from medicine and genetics, affected groups and families. The aim is to build up a corpus of teaching materials and to bring a new perspective to medical training and learning process, emphasising the aspect of humanity, as a crucial addition to specialised medical information.

Positive Exposure (External link)