Positive Exposure: The Spirit of Difference

We get a lot of messages shoved in our faces about “ideal” beauty. The beautiful thing is that we have the power to ignore desperate shouting and create our own personal standards. Several years ago, I decided to quit reading beauty and fashion magazines for the rest of my life. It was a small step, but an empowering one.

Fashion photographer Rick Guidotti got sick of being told what was beautiful. He shot countless images of supermodels in New York, Milan, and Paris, but believed that there was more to life than pouts and airbrushing.

There is.

In 1998, he founded the nonprofit organization Positive Exposure. Through the use of photography, Positive Exposure aims to shift public perceptions of people living with physical, behavioral, and genetic differences. It offers traveling multimedia exhibits, interactive educational programs for students, lectures, and self-esteem workshops. One of the exhibits, Positive Exposure: The Spirit of Difference, is currently on display at COSI. The images in this collection proved to me that photographs can, in fact, change how we view humanity. They reaffirmed that beauty really is everywhere, every day, all around us. The gifts of self-acceptance and acceptance of others are grander than any catwalk, and the realization that strife doesn’t preclude beauty is one of life’s biggest gems.

Positive Exposure will be at COSI until January 5. From now until December 31, guests can donate new mittens, gloves, or scarves and receive $1 off general admission for each item (limit three per person). All items collected will be given to Amethyst, a local organization dedicated to helping homeless women, children, and families struggling with addiction.