The first set of images I am looking at for my project is by Alexa Wright and her project from 1999 titled ‘I’.
Natasha recommended me this photographer and I was so grateful because I find it extremely hard to find interesting images of people with disabilities. Images that don’t portray them in harsh lighting and in positions where they look mangled.
These set of images are digitally manipulated images, they are also self portraits. Each image is of Alexa but she has composed different peoples bodies and disabilities onto her own. Alexa’s aim is that people look at the images and upon realising that each image is the same person, it makes people question their perceptions of disabilities and what is seen as beautiful. While creating this project Alexa then started to realise that there was more to this project than just confronting people and their prejudices towards people with physical disabilities but also how everyone at some point senses ‘foreignness’ with their bodies and identities.
The composition of these images are very central, but with a busy setting around them. To me these images are interesting because place an everyday model in them and you probably would be distracted by the objects and settings around them, but the fact that the images are of bodies that aren’t typically seen so out there and public, you don’t get distracted. The gaze is still fully on the model rather than the surroundings.
The images were published in 1999 and to me it’s a shame that things have not progressed. These images were to challenge peoples perceptions of disabilities, and yet still there is so much prejudice and lack of understanding for people with physical disabilities.
These images relate so well to my work in the sense of they have been created to challenge peoples perceptions which is exactly what I want to do with my images. They also are all self portraits and my images are self portraits also.
I think that the thing I love about this series is that the artist isn’t disabled. It is very rare for photographers to do projects about subjects they do not fully understand. I know that in myself I stick to my own disability because it is something that I know about and I want to raise awareness for, and although I work with children with disabilities, I still have no idea what struggles they go through daily and I will never fully understand every disability. So for a photographer without a disability, want to take an interest and challenge peoples perceptions of it is really lovely to see.