Every day we notice differences between ourselves and other people- things that might arouse curiosity and things we often don’t understand. For many children and adults with genetic disorders, the physical features associated with their condition can be the first and only thing people see.
Positive Exposure, a non-profit organization founded by Rick Guidotti, challenges the stigmas associated with physical differences due to genetic abnormalities. Rick was an accomplished fashion photographer when he switched his lens from the world of fashion to focus on children and adults with genetic disorders across the globe. Mixing education and advocacy in its various projects, Positive Exposure strives to change the way our society perceives genetic disorders. Through videos, photo exhibitions, and interactive programs, Positive Exposure encourages people to understand, embrace, and see the beauty in the differences present within our communities.
One of the interactive programs started by Positive Exposure is the PEARLS Project. PEARLS encourages learning about genetic disorders not through a typical lesson or lecture but by introducing students to individuals impacted by genetic disease. The students that participate in the program learn to look beyond physical and behavioral differences to see each other as people and friends. Another project, FRAME, seeks to transform the medical community by filming short videos to teach medical students about several disorders in a way that emphasizes humanity, not just a diagnosis. This focus on humanity and call to replace ignorance with compassion is at the foundation of every Positive Exposure initiative.
Rick’s newest project, a film called On Beauty, gives a closer look at how society responds to genetic disorder through the stories of two women, Sarah and Jayne. Sarah decided to be homeschooled as a child to avoid the constant bullying she faced for the dark red birthmark on her face, a feature of Sturge-Weber syndrome. Jayne lives in Eastern Africa where albinism is not well understood. Children with albinism are threatened by a community that is unaware of the health risks that result from their condition.
On Beauty premieres Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the IFC Center in New York City. To watch a trailer for the movie and purchase your tickets, visit DOC NYC.
To learn more about this inspirational organization visit PositiveExposure.org.