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Photographer Aims To Change Perceptions Of People With Disabilities

A photographer hopes to change the way people view intellectual disabilities with an exhibit coming to the George Eastman House.

In a previous life, Rick Guidotti was a fashion photographer. But he eventually got sick of being told what was beautiful and important.

"And as an artist, I never saw beauty just on the covers of magazines. I see it everywhere. So I started Positive Exposure to give us all an opportunity to see beyond those covers of magazines to see beauty in human diversity."

Positive Exposure is Guidotti's not-for-profit organization. It's also the name of a photo series commissioned by the Golisano Foundation, featuring portraits of people with intellectual disabilities. Guidotti seems well suited for this work. His energy and enthusiasm resonate well with his subjects, like Ty Coppola. Ty's mom, Cheryl, says she had some reservations about leaving her son with a stranger, but everything went so much better than expected.

"As I was coming back into the Eastman, I heard Ty say 'Wow!" and I couldn't believe it. I was in shock that he actually communicated because he really doesn't, especially with strangers."

Guidotti has photographed series like this all over the world. This installment will go on display at the George Eastman house in October.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.