Photo exhibition expands definition of beauty

Photo exhibition expands definition of beauty
Posted at 8:00 AM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 08:00:18-04

CINCINNATI — A new photography exhibit in town highlights the beautiful people of Cincinnati — and it might just expand your notion of what beauty really is.

The ReelBeauty photo exhibition opens April 21 and features images by Rick Guidotti, an award-winning fashion photographer based in New York City, who spent some time in Cincinnati photographing individuals who aren’t considered conventional beauties. Instead, his images focus on those with physical, genetic, intellectual or behavioral differences. 

“We all must have opportunities to celebrate the beauty and richness of human diversity,” Guidotti said. “As a fashion photographer, I was always told who was beautiful. As an artist, I didn’t — and still don’t — only see beauty on covers of magazines. I see beauty everywhere. I want to create opportunities to see beyond disease, beyond diagnosis, to see the humanity that we all share.”

To help achieve that goal, Guidotti founded a nonprofit in 1998 called Positive Exposure, which uses photography and film to change public perceptions of people living with physical, intellectual or behavioral differences. He participated in the 2015 ReelAbilities Film Festival downtown, which was organized by LADD (Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled), and led to the compilation of photographs scheduled to be on display at ReelBeauty.

“Cincinnati residents are fiercely committed to creating innovative programs that shine bright lights on diversity and disability, and are fully engaged in sustaining this incredibly important dialogue,” he said. “The collaboration with not only the amazing individuals featured in the photographs, but also the collaborations with their families, their friends, and their communities was a highlight for me. To be part of this huge party, celebrating difference — all difference.”

Guidotti said through his work and advocacy programs at Positive Exposure, he aims to eliminate any fear or pity that might arise when you encounter someone with differences, and instead, understand the beauty in our shared humanity. 

“The intention and hope for this exhibition is to create a more inclusive and compassionate world where all differences are celebrated,” he said. “The exhibition aims to gently steady the gaze, to steady the glance of the public until beauty is recognized. The exhibition provides the tools we all need to see beauty in difference, and to also see that beauty in ourselves.”

What: ReelBeauty photography exhibit featuring the work of Rick Guidotti

When: April 21-May 27

Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 318 Fourth St., Downtown

Admission: Free

Website: Click here