I am so thrilled, thinking about the amazing people that The Bigger Plans Project allowed me to meet.
With Rick Guidotti it was no difference: Lachi told me about him when we were looking for the right location for shooting the video .
One day she told me: “Hey, I’m in contact with this guy, Rick, the founder of Positive Exposure, they are directly involved in all things inclusive”
A whole new world of perspectives opened up to me!
I first talked to Rick on the phone, in Italian (as he also lived in Italy and exhibited in Corso Como Milan years ago!), when Lachi called me on WhatsApp to figure out how to light up Zazel’s walking cane (make sure you read this)
Then, Rick, Lachi and myself had an exciting official introductory meeting on Zoom, something like 10 days ago and ….last Saturday 14th November on PE page Rick invited us during his PE Connects Fb live!!!
SO… WHO IS RICK GUIDOTTI?
He is an award-winning photographer that has spent the past twenty years collaborating internationally with nonprofit organizations, hospitals, medical schools, educational institutions, advocacy groups and communities, to promote a more inclusive and compassionate world, where ALL differences are understood and celebrated.
His work was also published in magazines and newspapers as diverse as: Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and LIFE Magazine.
You should watch this video where he says how, at some point, he was tired of being told who was beautiful and who was not: so he went out and reached to the real beauty, the one he could see everywhere.
He kept on traveling and traveled the world to photograph kids with genetic conditions; during our talk he told me this is when he fully discovered, the real impact a photograph can have in someone’s life.
It is for sure not a trivial thought: think about the influence all images we constantly watch, share, comment, have on our lives.
Following the real power of photograph and the will to celebrate diversity in all its forms, Rick founded POSITIVE EXPOSURE, an innovative arts, advocacy, and education organization which utilizes the visual arts to celebrate human diversity, inclusive of ethnicity, religion, age, ability, learning style, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
What fascinated me, when I talked to him on Zoom the first time, was the use he makes of arts: I immediately felt a connection between what he was doing and what I am on a mission for, with this blog and all related projects.
In more than 20 years now, POSITIVE EXPOSURE has significantly impacted the field of human rights, mental health, medicine, and education by providing new opportunities to see each individual as a human being and valued member of our society.
Did you know that some of Rick’s pictures also replace the grimmer ones in the medical literature that students use in medecine? Check out the FRAME program!
Here are some other amazing milestones in PE history: make sure you check them out to understand the grandiosity behind the project and the utmost happiness I felt when I knew we were going to shoot there (ok, I was in Milan but Mr C19 did not allow me to fly over that Saturday!).
In June 1997, POSITIVE EXPOSURE was featured in LIFE Magazine as the cover story entitled, Redefining Beauty.
In collaboration with the Genetic Alliance and the National Human Genome Research Institute, POSITIVE EXPOSURE premiered a photographic exhibition for the People’s Genome Celebration at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in 2001.
Positive Exposure’s PEARLS Project was born to provide a blog platform where individuals from around the world, can tell their stories, and allow audiences to experience life from their unique perspective.
POSITIVE EXPOSURE was also, the focus of the 2014 award-winning documentary, On Beauty, From Emmy-nominated filmmaker Joanna Rudnick and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, shown for example in schools to stop bullyism.
Lucky enough, in 2017, POSITIVE EXPOSURE BELGIUM was established as their European headquarters – so we Europeans have to travel a bit less to enjoy it!
In Fall 2019, POSITIVE EXPOSURE 109 – a multi-media gallery, performance space and creative workspace celebrating human diversity through arts and culture – opened in NYC’s East Harlem on Museum Mile, particularly thought to embrace individuals at risk of stigma and exclusion by serving at a central hub of their work.
In March 2020 Rick organized a Jewelry student exhibition in collaboration with NYC dpt of Education’s District 75, a city-wide program that serves more than 23000 children with disabilities ages 3 to 21. Due to Covid the exhibition in-person was suspended and was successfully brought virtual https://www.artsteps.com/view/5e9f68107433c41461989914
WITH SO MANY AMAZING THINGS GOING ON AND GROUND-BREAKING IDEAS YOU MIGHT BE WANDERING: WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE?
We all know, there is still a lot to do and Rick is working hard to develop more both virtual and in-person programming that will further expand PE frame in order to favor more discussion and education on beauty, creativity, arts, inclusion and , as he says, the “reachness of diversity” .
POSITIVE EXPOSURE remains committed to promoting this call to action in communities worldwide:
CHANGE HOW YOU SEE, SEE HOW YOU CHANGE
Learn more about Rick Guidotti and Positive Exposure here: