Photographer captures stunning images of people with genetic conditions
Fashion photographer Rick Guidotti traded his life in fashion to photograph people with genetic conditions in an effort to help people "to see the beauty in humankind."
It all started when he passed an albino girl on the streets of NYC. Guidotti thought the girl, whose congenital disorder caused her lack of skin, hair, and eye pigment, was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, when he went home to research albinism in medical textbooks, the images he found painted the condition in a horrifying light. He told Cosmopolitan:
"[The photos] were terrifying. These were images of kids against walls in doctors offices with those black bars across their eyes. I didn't find any images like this beautiful girl I just saw. It was just horrible. I knew we needed to step up and do something. To see the beauty in albinism. To see the beauty in humankind."
The photographer had already made quite a name for himself before taking on this inspired new project. He shot for Elle, Revlon, L'Oreal, GQ, and supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford. With all of his success in mainstream beauty, he felt that it was time to change directions. He told Cosmopolitan:
"I always felt that I was told who was beautiful and who was beautiful in that moment. It would change each season, and I'd have to change my perspective. Everybody would shift for that new beauty or the new face of that season and you know, as an artist, I don't see beauty just on covers of magazines. I saw it everywhere, and I felt strongly about the aesthetic of beauty. It's what drove me as an artist."
Guidotti teamed up with organizations that represent people with genetic conditions to begin a not-for-profit project called Positive Exposure. The organization focuses on displaying the beauty of people with various genetic conditions. Guidotti explained to Cosmopolitan that his images capture more than inner beauty. These people are beautiful on the outside. He said:
"People are always like, 'Oh you know, their inner beauty is more important.' It's like, 'I'm shallow!' I'm an artist. This is about beauty. This is not inner beauty. These kids are gorgeous! We're not going to broaden the parameters of the beauty standard to see it, but we're going to broaden the parameters to allow it in. To allow it to exist there and also to create its own standard of beauty."
Guidotti's work is also reshaping the way his subjects view their own beauty. One woman with albinism, Jayne, said:
"Nobody understood my condition. I did not think anything about myself until I met Rick. That was when my whole life changed. He made me feel I was OK. Like it was OK for me to be who I was. It really shaped who I am. "
These images prove that beauty comes in multiple forms. Guidotti doesn't photograph diseases or genetic conditions. He simply photographs beauty.
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